Space Food Evolution: How Astronaut Chow Has Changed (Photos)

Mercury and Gemini Food (1961 - 1966)

NASA

Space food has changed in the more than 50 years of human spaceflight. But astronauts still need to eat. Take a tour of how astronaut chow has evolved here.

Above is a look at NASA's first take on space food designed for the Mercury and Gemini missions between 1961 and 1966.

Apollo Program Food (1968 - 1972)

NASA

This image shows food from the Apollo Program during the years 1968 to 1972.

Skylab Food and Tray (1973 - 1974)

NASA

This image shows food and tray used aboard Skylab Space Station from 1973 to 1974.

Shuttle Food Tray

NASA

This food tray was designed for use aboard the space shuttle.

International Space Station Food Container

NASA

Food container for use aboard the International Space Station. Food not only provides nutrition for astronauts, but also enhances the psychological well-being of the crew by establishing a familiar element in an unfamiliar and hostile environment.

Beverages for Space Travel

NASA

Beverages designed for International Space Station crew.

Thermostabilized Foods

NASA

Thermostabilized foods for use in space.

Natural Form Foods and Condiments

NASA

Natural form foods and condiments packaged for consumption in space.

STS-124 Food Session

NASA

The crew of NASA's STS-124 space shuttle mission conducts a vital taste-test of space food before setting their cosmic menus for their mission to the International Space Station.

STS-110 Crew Eating on Board ISS

NASA

This image shows STS-110 crew eating on board the international Space Station. Because vitamin degradation occurs with heat processing, oxidation, and light exposure, it is likely that the commercially sterile foods of the space program have reduced nutrient profiles at the time they are consumed.

Placing Vegetables into Freeze Drier

NASA

This image shows staff placing vegetables into a freeze drier. Exploration food systems require low mass, high quality, and long shelf life. Packaging failures, excess material, or oxygen trapped within the package can be detrimental to this system.

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