My brother let it slip that he’s putting astronaut ice cream in my Christmas stocking this year, which I am SUPER pumped about because sugar basically tastes the best when it’s freeze-dried. This also got me thinking: how do REAL astronauts celebrate the holidays? They can’t just shoot back down to Earth to do Christmas morning with the fam and then mosey back to outer space and return to work on anti-gravity experiments. If a mission overlaps with Christmas, space is where the holidays are happening.
There are currently two American astronauts, one British and three Russian cosmonauts on the International Space Station, and, according to NASA’s space food system’s manager Vickie Kloeris, American astronaut Timothy Kopra, (who just went up last week for a 6 month mission) has a rad Christmas dinner prepped for him—turkey, cornbread dressing, candied yams, green beans with mushrooms, cherry blueberry cobbler and spiced apples.
Of course, this is space food we’re talking about, so the turkey will be irradiated and come in a sealed foil pouch, the mashed potatoes, cornbread, and green beans are freeze-dried, and the candied yams and cobbler are thermostabilized. Irradiated and freeze-dried food is rehydrated on the station with hot water, thermostabilized food is good to go once the pouch is cut open.
Meanwhile, British astronaut Tim Peake’s dinner will consist of a Sunday roast in the shape of a helmet and a Christmas pudding, prepared by a Michelin-starred British chef Heston Blumenthal with the menu picked by British schoolchildren (YES!)
Unfortunately, cabin pressurization messes with taste buds, which makes food taste like it does when you have a bad cold, so even a Michelin-star meal isn’t going to taste all that Michelin-y in space.
But the real Christmas treat this year won’t be the food, it’ll be the entertainment. This past week the space station got a screener copy of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and a projection screen, so they can spend all of Christmas day arguing about whether the family tree of a certain new character contains Skywalker or Kenobi branches.
Below, a super-adorable holiday message from the American and British astronauts in which they make awesome use of the fact that they’re filming in zero gravity.
(Image via Shutterstock)