Texas A&M Scientists Make Thanksgiving Dinner for Astronauts
Did you hear the one about some Aggies trying to make turkey fly?
Researchers were able to cram sliced turkey, candied yams, apricot cobbler, and other dishes into pouches that ISS crew members can heat up and eat in zero gravity. The pouches have a long shelf life, so while the astronauts may be far from home, they can still partake in one of Earth's finest Thanksgiving traditions - leftovers!
Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp said the long shelf life is thanks to a stabilization method that uses heat and pressure to sterilize food, allowing it to last for several years in the packaging. The food is prepared in an oven specially designed for the ISS and eaten from a corner of the pouch.
Sharp said much of the food consumed in space is made on A&M's West Campus in College Station. Since 2007, the Space Food Research Facility has produced more than 50 kinds of menu items for NASA astronauts.
“Texas A&M is proud to feed our brave astronauts aboard the International Space Station,” Sharp said. “You know the food is going to be tasty and healthful if it’s made at A&M with Aggie pride.”
How do they taste, you ask? Retired astronaut and A&M Aerospace Engineering professor Dr. Bonnie Dunbar recently sampled the food with Chancellor Sharp and had this to say:
“The meats are really great. It’s just like Thanksgiving dinner.”