Thanksgiving Dinner On The International Space Station

NASA has put out details of what the crew of the ISS will be eating this Thanksgiving: it’s a traditional meal but with some very unconventional preparation methods:

Their menu will include traditional holiday fare with a space-food flair — irradiated smoked turkey, thermostabilized candied yams and freeze-dried green beans and mushrooms. The meal also will feature NASA’s own freeze-dried cornbread dressing — just add water. Dessert features thermostabilized cherry-blueberry cobbler.

NASA also notes that while the current mission is exploring the possibility of growing lettuce in space, in the long term the sweet potato may be the most likely candidate for growing a staple food in space:

It provides an important energy source — carbohydrate — as well as beta-carotene. The sweet potato is able to adapt to a controlled environment with artificial sunlight. It is highly adaptable to a variety of vine-training architectures. The main shoot tip, or the end of the main vine, is the only really sensitive part. It sends hormones throughout the plant that stimulate root development, which is important since it is the roots that become the sweet potatoes. The side shoots, if picked when young, are tender and can be eaten in salads, improving the plant’s usefulness.