The 19 Most Surprising Facts About Space Food

NASA banned alcohol, but that didn't stop the Russians.

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1. Pizza Hut delivered the first and only pizza to outer space.

Space.com / Via youtube.com

And the Russians were paid $1 million dollars to try it. Astronaut Yuri Usachov took the first bite of pizza, which was delivered to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2001, according to BBC News.

There hasn't been a single American so far who's had the pleasure of eating pizza in space.

2. Carbonated drinks like Coke and Pepsi are totally banned because they will make you vomit.

Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy / Via youtube.com

Back in the day, Coca-Cola attempted to create a special pressured can of Coke that wouldn't lose its carbonation in microgravity, according to NASA.

But here's the thing: Carbonation makes you burp. And this can be a very gross thing up in space, NASA warns. In microgravity, the food you just ate floats to the top of your stomach. And you essentially end up vomiting every time you belch. This phenomena is called "wet burping."

3. In 1985, the media ridiculed Mexican scientist Rodolfo Neri Vela for requesting tacos in space.

Chris Hadfield, Canadian Space Agency / Via youtube.com

But it quickly proved to be one of the most popular food items, according to Gustavo Arrelano's Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America. Tortillas are perfect for space travel because they don't mold easily or crumble. Unlike good ol' sliced bread, which is banned because of dangerous crumbs that can float around and damage equipment.

4. NASA tried and failed to create tortillas that didn't spoil after six months.

i.chzbgr.com / Via NASA

Eventually they found a solution to their problem: Taco Bell. Apparently, a tortilla manufacturer for Taco Bell had already created an extended-life tortilla that lasted up to a year, wrote Arellano.

5. In 1965, astronauts got in trouble for bringing illegal contraband into space.

NASA / Via commons.wikimedia.org

Even though bread was banned, astronaut John Young snuck a corned-beef-on-rye sandwich from his favorite deli into space, according to Discovery News. But it didn't taste very good since it broke down in microgravity. Along with the other astronaut on board, he got into major trouble for the deed.

6. Astronauts still sneak chips into space.

FOX / Via youtube.com

"When they get back, they always tell me: 'Vickie, we should have listened to you,'" Vickie Kloeris, NASA's food manager, told Discovery News. Supposedly, chips create such a damn mess that they are too hard to eat.

7. Christer Fuglesang was the first Swedish astronaut in space, but his Swedish delicacy was deemed "offensive."

@natty_t_ice I tried to bring reindeer into space to eat, but it was considered too non-PC:-) It was also Xmas time - can't eat Rudolf then!

Christer@CFuglesangFollow

@natty_t_ice I tried to bring reindeer into space to eat, but it was considered too non-PC:-) It was also Xmas time - can't eat Rudolf then!

12:52 PM - 08 Jan 15ReplyRetweetFavorite

8. In the 1970s, NASA created space wine.

Skylab 3 Mission Astronaut Owen Garriott / Via commons.wikimedia.org

Scientists created a special sherry wine for astronauts living on the now defunct Skylab space station, according to Gizmodo. But when they tested it on a reduced-gravity aircraft, the wine's smell triggered a gag reflex.

But that's not why NASA astronauts can't drink alcohol in space. After all, when has a little vomiting ever stopped anyone from drinking? The public was outraged when they found out about the project — because wine is the devil's juice, obviously. So NASA banned alcohol to prevent an onslaught of bad publicity.

9. But that didn’t stop the Russians from drinking in space.

HBO / Via media.giphy.com

Why? “How can you greet the new year without champagne?” Russian astronaut Alexander Lazutkin told reporters at a press conference covered by NBC News. The Russian astronauts also drink cognac. “We used it to stimulate our immune system and on the whole to keep our organisms in tone,” Lazutkin said.

10. And future space tourists might be able to drink beer too.

Vostok Space Beer / Via youtube.com

A company named Vostok developed the the world's first space beer because, "Humanity loves beer, we always have and always will," according to its website. Vostok believes beer and the new burgeoning field of space tourism goes hand in hand. It created low-carbonated beer to counteract the effects of "wet-belching" and even tested out the formula on a reduced-gravity flight in 2011.

11. Scientists spent millions of dollars to make space kimchi (and other Korean recipes).

Russian Federal Space Agency / Via youtube.com

"Without kimchi, Koreans feel flabby," Kim Sung Soo, a Korean food scientist, told the New York Times. So in 2008, scientists successfully created space kimchi for the first Korean in space, Soyeon Yi. The reason it cost so much money is because they had to come up with a special bacteria-free formula that actually tasted good. Otherwise, the bacteria might mutate, according to the New York Times.

12. Astronauts prefer spicy food in space.

Tested / Via youtube.com

That's because you're congested in space due to fluids rising in microgravity. "Your sinuses clog up and your tongue kind of swells up,” Astronaut Chris Hadfield told PBS. So you need something strong that you can actually taste. Hadfield's favorite food item in space is shrimp cocktail, because of its spicy sauce.

13. In 2006, Sapporo Brewery grew barley on the International Space Station.

Jed Schmidt / Via Flickr: tr4nslator

And it used it to brew 100 bottles of beer back on Earth, according to Universe Today. It wasn't cheap. It cost around $110 dollars for one six-pack. An analysis and taste test of the beer revealed no difference with terrestrial brew.

14. But in 2001, NASA actually brewed beer in space.

Sky Probe / Via youtube.com

Experimenters were only able to brew about 1 milliliter, according to NASA. But they still tried the beer anyway. Interestingly, they found that space brew contained a significantly lower number of yeast cells than Earth beer, but they don't know why.

15. During the first missions to space, one of the most popular food staples was...

NBC / Via giphy.com

In 1968, the United States had its first manned mission to space. And the crew of Apollo 7 preferred bacon. The item was so popular that is was practically eaten everyday in the subsequent Apollo 8 and 9 missions. Apollo 8 crew astronaut Jim Lovell even said, “Happiness is bacon squares for breakfast,” according to Popular Science.

16. A university engineering team is attempting to grow lettuce on Mars.

Lettuce on Mars / Via lettuceonmars.com

The University of Southampton Spaceflight Society has proposed a plan to send lettuce seeds to Mars in 2018. The seeds would ideally self-germinate inside a growth chamber. The lettuce would take four weeks to grow, and it would terminate upon completion to ensure that no biological material contaminates Mars.

18. The first food eaten in space was caviar and meat pate.

Roscosmos / Via youtube.com

In 1961, Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was the first human in space and he ate a rather stylish first meal, according to the European Space Agency. But it seemed like he was more concerned about sausages. In his final last words before the flight, he allegedly joked, "The main thing is that there is sausage: To go with the moonshine," according to Space.com. For the record, there was no moonshine.

19. NASA invested in a 3D printer that makes pizzas.

Systems and Materials Research Corporation (SMRC) / Via youtube.com

NASA enlisted mechanical engineer Anjan Contractor to build a 3D printer that provides food for astronauts, and he successfully demonstrated the product in 2013. They are hoping that it can be used in long missions to places like Mars, according to Space.com. So, obviously, Anjan had to print a pizza for the future of humanity.