NASA Video Shows Astronauts Prepping for Bizarre-Shaped Thanksgiving Meal
The International Space Station is getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving, with the help of a very angular package. Astronauts Alex Gerst from the ESA and Serena Auñón-Chancellor from NASA shared a special holiday-themed video on Wednesday, showing them getting to grips with their food.
Unlike the meals served on terra firma, where a family gathers around a table covered with food, this astro-giving involves a big plastic bag stuffed with cylindrical cans and plain white packaged food. The hamper contains treats like turkey, stuffing, candied yams and spicy pound cake. The pair will tuck into the meal as the station passes over three continents, joined by Russian cosmonaut Sergei Prokofiev. The celebration will also be a chance to contact family: Auñón-Chancellor said that “Thanksgiving is a time to spend with those whom you love, whomever that might be, and so we’ll be enjoying this meal but then also calling our loved ones back on planet Earth.”
It makes a change from last year’s arrangement. The Expedition 53 crew tucked into turkey, candied yams, mashed potato and cornbread dressing before getting back to work. A NASA spokesperson said that the team had “a lot of cargo-unloading tasks to complete,” as the Cygnus spacecraft had only arrived last Tuesday with over 7,700 pounds of supplies. The crew did, however, make time to watch the NFL, as is customary on the space station.
The meals are prepared by Texas A&M university at the Space Food Research Facility on the West Campus. The team has to make the meal packages, prepare the food, and then send it through a sterilizer that heats up the packages. This ensures a long shelf life. When it’s time to eat the turkey at the station, the astronauts will heat it up using a food warmer, before eating out of the packet to keep all the residue in place.
At least the crew won’t have to worry about cleaning up after.
Related video: How to Prepare Thanksgiving Food in Space