Preparing food in space

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield shows us his ‘kitchen’ in space and prepares a treat. Free-floating food-eating ensues, complete with a tumbling tortilla.

Video source: Canadian Space Agency / YouTube.

View Transcriptarrow

CHRIS HADFIELD, Canadian astronaut: Let’s talk about space food!

In the early days of space exploration, food was mostly squeezed out of tubes and brought up in dehydrated packets. But today, we can have quite a variety of food. There’s all sorts of things that we’d normally consume on Earth that we have here in space. We just need some minor adaptations.

In the case of sandwiches, we had to substitute for bread. So we decided to use tortillas. But why? Mostly it’s because bread, of course, makes crumbs. When you eat them on Earth, the crumbs fall down to the ground. But here, crumbs are just going to float away. On the other hand, the tortillas that we use are heat treated and specially packaged in an oxygen-free environment to prevent mould from growing. They come up in packages like this. And thanks to that process, a tortilla like this can be good for 18 months.

So what we’re going to do is, we’re going to open up our tortilla, we’re going to get our peanut butter, squirt it onto the tortilla, get our honey, squirt it on there, and we will have a peanut butter honey sandwich in space.

Open up the tortilla, and viola. A weightless tortilla. Okay, we’ve got one tortilla. Whoa, it got away!

Take my peanut butter, open it up. Hmm, can’t rip it. Fortunately, we have space scissors. They’re attached by a tether so they don’t go floating up. Take the scissors, cut open the peanut butter pouch. Peanut butter’s open, squeeze it onto the tortilla, carefully.

And now, a little honey. Hey, I noticed something cool about the honey. Instead of the bubble sitting up at the top, because there’s no gravity to make it float up, the bubble is floating in the middle.

Okay, all closed up, and the envelope of peanut butter and honey is ready to eat. Hmm, not too bad.

The last piece of my sandwich. It’s been pretty delicious. But my hands are all sticky, and I’ve got to clean up. We don’t have a sink, we don’t have running water. We’ve got to wash ourselves some other way. Disinfectant wipes.

All cleaned up, nice and hygienic on the space station, this goes in the trash, lunch is over. Delicious!

Humans in space

Latest videos

SKAO: The world’s largest radio observatory

Video: SKAO: The world’s largest radio observatory

What is a supernova?

Video: What is a supernova?

What are exoplanets?

Video: What are exoplanets?