Canned chicken with lemon confit floating on the International Space Station, a meal that is part of ESA’s ENERGY experiment.
This experiment looks at the energy expenditure of astronauts during spaceflight to plan adequate but not excessive food supplies. It is a complex experiment and many astronauts are involved. ESA astronauts André Kuipers, Luca Parmitano, Alexander Gerst and others took part in this experiment on their missions.
Just as with most physiology experiments, measurements are conducted before, during and after flight. This is the only way to record the differences between living on Earth and in microgravity.
The space part of this experiment lasts 11 days. Predefined food is eaten from a special package on the first two days and everything is registered with bar codes and on written forms to know exactly what the astronaut eats. He will drink water with deuterium isotopes and regularly collect water and urine samples. The isotopes allow the scientists to examine how the astronaut’s energy levels change over the 11 days.
A mask measures the amount of oxygen is absorbed for 20–50 minutes at a time during the second day to deduce his energy consumption before and after a meal. All movements are also recorded during the 11-day experiment using an activity monitor. All this allows the energy consumption to be deduced when an astronaut is at rest, the energy consumption related to his activity and exercise, and the diet-induced energy consumption.