7 Foods That Are Banned from Space
Zero gravity and little storage space seriously limits astronauts' menu options. Here's what's off limits in outer space.
Crumbs—from bread, crackers, cookies, etc—don’t do well in space. They float around, and can fly into an astronaut’s eyes and interfere with important equipment. That’s why you’ll find tortillas used instead of bread on all crafts traveling out of orbit. Though the creation of crumb-free bread in 2017 means this rule could be changing soon.
A funny thing happens to carbonation without gravity—nothing. On Earth, a big part of soda’s appeal is in its effervescence, but with bubbles in a state of “free float,” fizzy drinks don’t fizz. As astronauts found out in the 1980s and ’90s when soda made brief appearances in space, warm, flat carbonated drinks don’t go down quite as easily as they do back home. Can’t go without soda? Stay earthbound, and stick to watching the moon during the day.
Salt & pepper
There’s no “sprinkling” in space. Small particles of salt, pepper, or other seasonings would simply float, rather than land on food. Space shuttles do stock salt- and pepper-infused liquid, though.
In place of fresh milk, the dehydrated kind, which takes up only a little space and doesn’t require refrigeration, has been a staple of international space missions since the 1960s.
The real stuff can’t make the trek to outer space—there are no freezers on space shuttles—but freeze-dried astronaut ice cream can and has gone up as dessert. By the way, in case you were wondering—this is what outer space smells like.
While not exactly banned from space, pizza isn’t on astronauts’ most requested foods list. “You can’t get a crispy crust,” says Vicki Kloeris, NASA’s Johnson Space Center space food manager. “It’s always soggy or chewy. It doesn’t meet anyone’s expectations.”
In 1972, alcohol (Paul Masson Rare Cream Sherry, to be specific) was on the menu for the upcoming Skylab 4 mission. But when the public got wind of the plan, many sent angry letters to NASA and the idea was nixed. “Astronauts represent a form of purity,” said scientist and astronaut Edward G. Gibson. “As soon as you taint that purity with alcohol [some people] really get upset.” Next, don’t miss these science facts you never learned in school.