𝗙𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗶𝗻 𝗦𝗽𝗮𝗰𝗲: 𝗜𝗦𝗥𝗢’𝘀 𝗡𝗲𝘅𝘁 𝗕𝗶𝗴 𝗜𝗻𝗻𝗼𝘃𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗶𝗻 𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗿𝘆 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗚𝗮𝗴𝗮𝗻𝘆𝗮𝗮𝗻 𝗠𝗶𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻.🚀🌌🚀
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is stepping towards its major mission to send astronauts to space in the coming days, under its ‘Gaganyaan’ mission. Gaganyaan is India's first human space flight. While DRDO is busy designing menus, its Mysore-based Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL) works on adapting a range of packaged food items that it makes for soldiers deployed on harsh missions. It will offer a gourmet spread of Indian food for its pioneering astronauts courtesy the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO), which has been tasked with organising the victuals for the week-long flight. The Indian astronauts are expected to spend at least seven days into space, but what will they eat?. Apparently they will not miss Indian food as a menu of about 30 dishes, including idli sambar, upma, veg rolls, egg rolls, moong dal, halwa and vegetable pulav. The Defence Food Research Laboratory has also prepared special containers to drink liquids like water and juices in space where there is no gravity. The astronauts will also be provided with cutlery and a waste disposal pack on their mission. A list of over two dozen items that includes cuisines from across India is being worked on. The greatest challenge when living in space is that you need access to Food can taste different in space “foods that you can preserve for a very long time. With the challenge of developing food to eat in microgravity, scientists were faced with basic questions such as could food be digested easily. While there is a range of space food available, with humans having voyaged for over six decades and many having spent months in space stations like the International Space Station, Gaganyaan is a platform to adapt Indian cuisines, the Indian way, for space flights.
Today, space meals are extensively planned. The food taken into space must be lightweight, compact, nutritious and, of course, tasty. Five months before a space mission, astronauts visit the Space Food Systems Laboratory and choose their menu from a selection, ranking their favourite space foods in appearance, colour, smell, taste and texture. In addition to the normal nutritional requirements, there are a number of factors working on the body while in space that means that the diet must be highly supplemented even more so than on Earth. Aboard the International Space Station (ISS), where astronauts from all over the world will live for 6 months, we have the best example of modern space food technology. When developing space food, there are a number of limiting factors to consider. Apart from the microgravity environment, other significant problems include: being able to store enough food for 6 astronauts and having a space to collect the food and wrapper waste. For the NASA astronauts, the standard Shuttle menu repeats after seven days. It supplies each crew member with three balanced meals, plus snacks. Each astronaut’s food is stored aboard the Shuttle and is identified by a coloured dot affixed to each package.The food items of NASA astronauts include dehydrated beverages, fresh foods with a two-day shelf life, irradiated meat, items like nuts or cookies, rehydratable food that can be reconstituted with water, and thermostabilized items that can be prepared with heat to kill off possible spoiling agents.
𝗘𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗙𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗶𝗻 𝗦𝗽𝗮𝗰𝗲:
During NASA’s first human spaceflight program Mercury, astronauts found eating in space fairly easy but the menu was limited. It consisted of bite-sized cubes, freeze-dried powders, and thick liquids stuffed in aluminium tubes. However, the food started to improve on the following missions starting from the Gemini missions. Gemini astronauts had such food choices as shrimp cocktail, chicken and vegetables, butterscotch pudding, and apple sauce, and were able to select meal combinations themselves. The first meal eaten in space was in the spring of 1961 by Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. He had pureed meat in a squeezable toothpaste-style tube, followed by a tube of chocolate sauce. The following year, NASA celebrated John Glenn becoming the first American to eat in space, squeezing puréed beef with vegetables from an aluminum tube, among other edible delights. In the early days of space travel, food was unsurprisingly based on what the army had developed for survival situations. This included pureed food packaged in aluminium tubes, that was sucked through a straw (yum...). Soup flavours like beef, vegetable or mushroom were eaten cold on NASA’s Project Mercury in 1962.
By the time of the 1968 Apollo mission to the moon, space food resembled something more familiar. But it was contained within a “spoon bowl”, which held dehydrated food. Astronauts would inject it with hot water, unzip the package, and eat with a spoon. The wetness of the food made it stick to the spoon rather than float away. The Apollo mission also had “wet-packs” which kept food moist, so they were able to tuck into chocolate pudding, bacon squares and cornflakes with no added preparation work. These thermally-stabilized, ready-to-eat meals didn't need to be rehydrated as they retained their water content. Wetpacks quickly gained crew approval which was enough for NASA to justify the additional weight resource.
𝗜𝗻𝗱𝗶𝗮’𝘀 𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗻𝗲𝗱 𝘀𝗽𝗮𝗰𝗲 𝗺𝗶𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻: 𝗚𝗮𝗴𝗮𝗻𝘆𝗮𝗮𝗻
India plans to send three people to space as part of Mission Gaganyaan, which is scheduled to take off before 2022, but due to a pandemic it may delay for a certain time. ISRO said that four astronauts have been identified for training in Russia. ISRO’s manned space mission is significant because, at the moment, only three countries Russia, US, and China have launched a manned space flight. If India manages to achieve this feat, it will be the fourth nation to have accomplished a manned space flight.
Dr. Adarsha Gowda,
St. Aloysius College, Autonomous
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