Researchers design a ‘space salad’ to keep astronauts healthy and happy

When it comes to imagining food in space, the first thing that’s likely to cross most people’s minds is freeze-dried products like astronaut ice cream. And while preserved foods will inevitably be a part of astronauts’ diets for the foreseeable future, nowadays, there’s an increasing focus on how to provide astronauts with fresh foods like vegetables and grains for at least occasional treats.

Eating fresh foods is important not only for physical health reasons but also for astronauts’ mental health. Repetitive, processed meals can be unappetizing and lead to what is called menu fatigue, in which astronauts don’t want to eat because they are so sick of having the same foods over and over. And that can be a real problem when astronauts are losing weight and not getting enough nutrients.

Fortunately, we’re getting better and better at growing a wider variety of foods in the microgravity conditions of space. In the last few years, astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) have grown foods like radishes, lettuce, and chili peppers. And now, a team of researchers has come up with an “astronaut salad” featuring foods that could be grown in space.


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