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Food For Thought

Eating in Space:

Photo of STS126 Crew Members
STS-126 Crew Members

Space Food System Laboratory
Space Food System Laboratory

Snack food image
Space Food

Breakfast Snacks Photo
Breakfast on the ISS


Food for Thought
Teaching From Space:
Food for Thought

Food For Thought Poster
Audience: Educators
Grades: 5-8
Product Number: EG-2011-08-00005-SSC

Food for Thought: Eating in Space

Since the first days of the Mercury Program in the early 1960s, NASA scientists have sought to keep astronauts in space for longer and longer periods of time. Some of the most important problems of early human spaceflight were some of the most basic to human life: What could we eat and drink in space? And how would the body react to food in microgravity?

Twenty-first century space food has come a long way since the early years of the U.S. space program, and it now includes a wide variety of items in many different forms.

Yet today, among the thousands of questions that need to be answered before astronauts travel to distant planets and asteroids, are questions related to the astronauts themselves. How much food will they need and what foods can they take? We are fortunate on Earth to have an amazing variety of foods to eat. When astronauts go to Mars and other destinations, their mission crews may be international; carrying food the entire crew likes will be a real challenge.

This site includes educational activities designed to get students engaged in learning about space food and human spaceflight. It also contains videos and links intended to encourage further exploration. Finally, there is a fact-filled "Space Food Hall of Fame" where visitors can read about some of the most famous and noteworthy space foods, and even vote for their favorites.


+ Food for Thought Curriculum Guide (6.6 mb)
The "Food for Thought" educator guide is a collection of NASA activities and resources on space food and nutrition.


Students will:
  • Research the caloric content and nutritional value of space foods.
  • Construct sample space food menus.
  • Design a robot capable of handling foods.
  • Sample surfaces for microbial contamination.
  • Investigate adhesion, cohesion, contact angle and capillary action in liquids.
  • Design and test a microgravity cup.
  • Create a space cookie recipe and bake it for taste testing.

FLL introduces younger students to real-world engineering challenges by building LEGO-based robots to complete tasks on a thematic playing surface. FLL teams, guided by their imaginations and adult coaches, discover exciting career possibilities and, through the process, learn to make positive contributions to society. In the 2011 Food Factor Challenge, over 200,000 students from over 55 countries will explore the topic of food safety and examine the possible points of contamination our food encounters – from exposure to insects and creatures, to unsterile processing and transportation, to unsanitary preparation and storage – then find ways to prevent or combat these contaminates.

NASA's Teaching From Space (TFS) program offers experiences and resources not found anywhere else. You can get involved in real NASA missions and research, gain access to NASA experts, and use NASA equipment to take learning to a new level. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live and work in space? Follow astronauts on the International Space Station in a series of videos as they explain their daily routines. Learn where they sleep, and how they eat, exercise, work and spend free time.

This site has a brief history of U.S. space food systems from the Mercury Program through the International Space Station (ISS).

This page contains images and videos of the types of foods NASA astronauts currently eat.

The SFSL designs, develops, evaluates and produces flight food, menus, packaging, and food-related ancillary hardware for the Space Station and Advanced Food Systems.

The goal AFT is to develop and deliver technologies for human centered spacecraft that will support crews on missions to the moon, Mars, and beyond.

Space Food Hall of Fame


Link to Coffee Cup Video

Using a piece of transparent plastic and some tape, STS-126 Mission Specialist Don Pettit builds a coffee cup that works in a weightless environment. (See the video at the bottom of page: http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/gallery/video/shuttle/sts-126/html/fd10.html.)

Links to Eating on the ISS webpage

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