If you're an astronaut, you probably have three especially prominent thoughts: (1) I miss gravity, (2) Peeing in a tube is no fun, and (3) I want pizza. That last one in particular was the case for Mike Massimino, an astronaut who ordered a pizza from a space shuttle as he was making his decent back to Earth, says Space.com.
Don't let the food pyramid fool you — pizza is one of the main groups. Odds are you have quick and cheap access to delicious pizza, unless, of course, you're orbiting the International Space Station, like Massimino was. According to Space.com, Massimino shared the funny story in One Strange Rock, a documentary series from National Geographic produced by Darren Aronofsky. He missed the popular pie so much, he "actually ordered the pizza from the shuttle" while he was heading back toward earth. I would just like to take a moment to applaud his dedication to pizza.
If you know anything about what astronauts eat in space, this story wouldn't surprise you too much. While conditions have improved dramatically since John Glenn first ate apple sauce from a tube while on a Mercury space mission in 1962 (a fun fact from Wonderopolis), astronauts still must take great care in what and how they eat.
This is partly because the conditions of leaving the planet are so unique and specific, and partly because keeping astronauts well fed and healthy with all the proper nutrients is a special responsibility. Gorging themselves on Chipotle twice a week like I do is just out of the question.
So, what do they eat?
As Wonderopolis says, freeze-drying is a method heavily relied on, where foods are cooked, quickly frozen, and then dehydrated. In fact, most foods and drinks are dehydrated and in powder form, stored in pouches and packets with straws or nozzles for easy and convenient consumption. You can't simply drink from a cup or eat everything from a plate like you would on earth, because the lack of gravity means things would start floating around the shuttle. Have you ever seen a chicken nugget fly past your face? It isn't pretty.
Plus, freeze-dried food makes for snacks and meals that are lighter and take up less space — two important factors when you're talking about loading up the luggage aboard a space shuttle.
So, yes, extra precautions must be taken when it comes to eating in space. Fortunately, though, astronauts today get to enjoy much better food than their predecessors did.
In fact, shuttles today have full kitchens complete with hot water and even an oven. Still missing from the menu, however, is the piping hot and amazingly greasy pizza delivery so many of us love.
While the delivery guy won't be showing up at the front door of the space shuttle anytime soon, astronauts are finding ways to get creative when their pizza cravings start to get out of hand. Space.com shared a video showing a group of astronauts assembling pizzas in space, with some of the ingredients tethered down so they wouldn't float away. It wasn't like the real thing — they could only use ingredients that would stick to the pizza, and the crust needed to be pretty much crumb-free so bits of it wouldn't get in their electronics.
It wasn't delivery. It wasn't DiGiorno either. But it was space-friendly.
Plus, these fellas look pretty darn pleased with their masterpieces. Taste aside, wouldn't it be cool to eat a flying pizza? Heck yes. You don't even have to touch it that much and risk getting greasy fingers, because the pizza will just float there. Bonus!
Astronauts sacrifice a lot to do what they do, and we wouldn't be where we are without them. If you ever get to meet one, say thank you and buy 'em a slice of pizza.