Luca’s lasagna in space!
5 March 2013
As an important part of getting ready for his six-month stay on the International Space Station, ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano was asked to test some Italian food that he will eventually eat in on the International Space Station, including the first ever lasagne to be sent to space!
Starting in May, Italian Luca will spend over six months circling 400 km above the Earth in the ISS. Good food is important for astronauts because they need to stay strong and healthy. As they have so much work to do, the evening meal is often the only time astronauts on the Space Station can all get together and relax.
Being so far from home for such a long time can make astronauts very homesick, and eating some food from your home country is a great way to make you feel better. But preparing food to go into space is not an easy job! Apart from having to last a long time and being able to deal with weightlessness, a chef needs to think of the special healthy diets that astronauts must have. The food must also be easy for the astronauts to prepare.
Some of the special dishes that were made for Luca by famous chef David Scabin include aubergine parmigiana, mushroom and pesto risotto and tiramisu for dessert. These classic recipes are then made spaceworthy by a company called Argotec. The food has to be dehydrated to keep the flavour before being stored in aluminium bags that can resist all the vibrations at lift off. The food can be kept for up to 36 months and has no salt, because scientists discovered that salt can be harmful to astronauts’ bones while they are in space. To prepare the food, the astronauts just need to add very hot water to make their delicious meal.
Luca will spend the next four weeks in Houston, USA, before heading to Russia where the launch to the International Space Station will take place. The specially made food will be sent into space before him, ready and waiting at the ISS in case Luca is hungry when he arrives!