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NASA's Space Food Systems lab shows what astronauts really eat in orbit

NASA's Space Food Systems Laboratory is where the agency researches, tests, and produces food fit for consumption outside of the Earth's atmosphere. Everything from the packaging to the menu has to be meticulously evaluated; the food must balance nutrition, flavor, and safety with more practical concerns such as preparation time, size, and a shelf life of three to five years.

Space food plays another role, too — according to NASA, it "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."

The agency has posted a series of photos on its website that track the development of space food through recent decades, as well as further details on the laboratory's work.


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