The six astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) got a taste of Thanksgiving even though it was slightly less than a full traditional turkey dinner. According to a Nov. 27 CBC News report, the astronauts enjoyed irradiated smoked turkey, thermostabilized candied yams, freeze-dried green beans and mushrooms, freeze-dried cornbread dressing and thermostabilized cherry-blueberry cobbler for dessert.
However, future astronauts may have the opportunity to eat fresh sweet potatoes for their Thanksgiving meal. Astronauts aboard the ISS are experimenting with growing plants and the sweet potato is proving to be a good candidate for future astronauts to harvest on deep space missions. It’s loaded with carbohydrates and beta-carotene, and adapts well to conditions in space.
NASA doesn’t divulge what treats astronauts asked for, but Vickie Kloeris, the food system manager for ISS told CBC News that in the past crew members who know they will be in space during the holidays have requested cranberry sauce or frosting for decorating cookies. Each crew member is provided with a bonus container with a small amount of food they specially requested.
However, there is their is one catch – no leftovers allowed.
“They can’t keep leftovers on orbit, since we don’t really have a refrigerator,” Kloeris said. “There is no dedicated freezer or refrigerator in orbit for food. They really have to either eat it or toss it because they don’t have a way to preserve the leftovers.”
The current six-person crew will be on the space station for about six months.