Sushi in Space: What Astronauts Are Eating These Days
Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi floats through the passageway from the Soyuz TMA-17 spacecraft into the International Space Station shortly after docking Dec. 22, 2009.
Credit: NASA TV

Sushi is now on the menu for the International Space Station (ISS), thanks to Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi. He and Russia's Oleg Kotov and NASA's Timothy Creamer took off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Dec. 20 with a fresh load of raw seafood.

"We had training in Japan and I trained [my space colleagues] to be sushi lovers, so I am going to make a couple of flavors of sushi," Noguchi told a press conference before launching to the station this month on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

"Some sashimi, and raw fish and sushi and I will bring that up to the space station to share with my crew," he said, according to the space news Web site Red Orbit.

Earlier in the month, Creamer told reporters, ?We can?t wait for when Soichi makes us sushi!? For Creamer, a US Army colonel and NASA engineer, this mission will be his first flight to space.

Better than Tang, you say? Probably, but the international flavor of the ISS crew has already lead to some unusual menu items, like tinned perch, curds with nuts, and beetroot soup (borscht) sucked through a straw from a plastic bag.

However, the world's space agencies still have a ways to go, at least according to science fiction fans. Witness this elegant breakfast on board the Projectile on its way to the moon, blasted into space from the formidable cannon named Columbiad, as depicted in Jules Verne's 1867 blockbuster novel "From the Earth to the Moon":

"Indeed the inhabitants of the new star could not live without eating, and their stomachs were suffering from the imperious laws of hunger. Michel Ardan, as a Frenchman, was declared chief cook, an important function, which raised no rival. The gas gave sufficient heat for the culinary apparatus, and the provision box furnished the elements of this first feast.

"The breakfast began with three bowls of excellent soup, thanks to the liquefaction in hot water of those precious cakes of Liebig, prepared from the best parts of the ruminants of the Pampas. To the soup succeeded some beefsteaks, compressed by an hydraulic press, as tender and succulent as if brought straight from the kitchen of an English eating-house. Michel, who was imaginative, maintained that they were even "red."

"Preserved vegetables ("fresher than nature," said the amiable Michel) succeeded the dish of meat; and was followed by some cups of tea with bread and butter, after the American fashion.

"The beverage was declared exquisite, and was due to the infusion of the choicest leaves, of which the emperor of Russia had given some chests for the benefit of the travelers.

"And lastly, to crown the repast, Ardan had brought out a fine bottle of Nuits, which was found "by chance" in the provision-box. The three friends drank to the union of the earth and her satellite.

"And, as if he had not already done enough for the generous wine which he had distilled on the slopes of Burgundy, the sun chose to be part of the party. At this moment the projectile emerged from the conical shadow cast by the terrestrial globe, and the rays of the radiant orb struck the lower disc of the projectile direct occasioned by the angle which the moon's orbit makes with that of the earth."

(This Science Fiction in the News story used with permission of Technovelgy.com)