Project

Molecular Gastronomy in Zero G

Copyright

MIT Media Lab

Steve Boxall

“Molecular Gastronomy in Zero G” explores the artistic and technical aspect of preparing food in space. Studying how food is created and consumed in zero gravity can help shed light on how our experiences of food extend far beyond mere nourishment. Food is not simply fuel—it’s part of what makes us human. Debriefs with astronauts tell us that food is a key creature comfort in spaceflight, and it will play an even more significant role on long duration spaceflight and future space habitats. The current space food system offers some variability in menu items, but does little outside of sustenance. It’s freeze-dried and pre-packaged in ways consistent with the demands of present day space travel. For longer trips these self-contained meals will be detrimental to astronauts’ mental health. Promoting new culinary techniques and interactions between different sensory modalities will assist in improving the experience of food in space.

A Molecular Gastronomy experiment will be flown on an upcoming zero gravity flight using reverse spherification and direct spherification techniques to create recipes in zero g (e.g., Algae… View full description

“Molecular Gastronomy in Zero G” explores the artistic and technical aspect of preparing food in space. Studying how food is created and consumed in zero gravity can help shed light on how our experiences of food extend far beyond mere nourishment. Food is not simply fuel—it’s part of what makes us human. Debriefs with astronauts tell us that food is a key creature comfort in spaceflight, and it will play an even more significant role on long duration spaceflight and future space habitats. The current space food system offers some variability in menu items, but does little outside of sustenance. It’s freeze-dried and pre-packaged in ways consistent with the demands of present day space travel. For longer trips these self-contained meals will be detrimental to astronauts’ mental health. Promoting new culinary techniques and interactions between different sensory modalities will assist in improving the experience of food in space.

A Molecular Gastronomy experiment will be flown on an upcoming zero gravity flight using reverse spherification and direct spherification techniques to create recipes in zero g (e.g., Algae Caviar). This experiment could encourage new food cultures and cooking practices in space.