Attack of the Wasabi
Image to right: Astronaut Sunita L. Williams, Expedition 14 Flight Engineer, eats a meal with chopsticks in the Zvezda service module aboard the International Space Station. Image credit: NASA
Space food, Japanese style:
Sunita Williams' Mission Log
Well, we started opening my food containers the other week. Low and behold there was salmon in there. I also got a jar of wasabi sauce with ginger. They were the fine makings of a meal! I heated up some rice and green beans (sort of thinking it was edamame) and was all ready to pour on the wasabi. I started opening the jar paper cover, about 1 millimeter wide hole and the wasabi sauce came out at me like a fire hose. I was dodging the spray as well as trying to catch it, because it was going all over the walls. I finally got the cap back on and thought, okay, the pressure is gone. I opened it again to use the sauce and again, it came flying out at me. I'm not sure if it was the initial pressure, we are a little lower up here or the ride or some chemical reaction in the bottle, but stuff just doesn't fall once it is out. It just flies straight out and there is no getting out of the firing range. You can't back away and think it is going to fall on the ground - it just keeps flying until it hits something! This is what I call a 1-G (gravity) moment. On Earth, there might be some spray because of pressure, but the "stuff" coming out would fall - not here. It is hard to forget the reactions you have on Earth, like just backing away. These reactions don't work up here because things act differently in a micro-G environment.
I have had other 1-G moments just like this before. It is hard to train your body out of them. The bike is over the lab window and I have many times thought this is not a good idea; I am going to sweat on the window. Well, that isn't true either. Sweat doesn't fall off you. The water just accumulates until it gets too big and agitated and falls off like a sphere of water. It then floats around until it hits something. It takes a lot of water to fall off. Usually it just hangs on so you get a quick build-up of sweat when working out. It sort of acts like an insulator on your body making you pretty hot. It is good to have a towel nearby to wipe it off and cool down a bit.
Another 1-G moment was when I was trying to hold a bag of almonds up over my mouth to pour them in. That doesn't work either. They don't fall out...they float. You can get them to come out if you move your hand in one direction and then reverse. The momentum of the nuts will keep them going in the original direction if they don't contact the sides of the bag. It is tricky!
Cool places we flew over:
• Africa - deserts, craters, wind ravaged countryside. This continent has everything…incredible!
• Himalayas… are sort of cloudy. I am researching my pictures to see if Everest is in there.
• South Pacific
• Imagination sushi - as I talked about above.
• Asian dinner curry vegetables, chicken in peanut sauce, broccoli au gratin. I topped it off with one of our favorites, cherry-berry cobbler all heated up. It isn't classic cobbler with crust on top, it is all mixed together, but that isn't a bad thing.
• Ski breakfast - hot spiced apples alongside with canned egg and ham omelet. This was certainly one of those that you just close your eyes and imagine. When I go skiing in New England, I usually wake up early and drive up to Vermont, New Hampshire or Maine to make it in time for chairlift opening. That means leaving early and getting breakfast at one of the little quaint diners up in the mountains. This hearty breakfast reminded me of ski breakfast!
• 6.5 miles running
• 30 minutes interval biking + 3 miles running
• 40 minutes interval biking
• 8.2 miles running
• 40 minutes interval biking
• 30 minutes + 3 miles
• I’m lifting every day. My squats are getting good. I lift barefoot to keep the feeling of walking on my feet. Your feet just don't get used to up here, so I try to take every opportunity to use them.
• It is Sunday - hoping to do a long run today - Yes, I did it - 10 miles! I needed a nap after that…
Things we did...
• Nutrition experiment - we take our own blood and urine samples which are frozen in our MELFI (Minus-Eighty Lab Freezer ISS).
• Environmental monitoring – U.S. and Russian air samples, sound samples
• Orlan suit preparations
• Finally a good weekend...we have to adjust our schedules up here to accommodate the events and the Control Center, which is controlling them. For example, we did the U.S. EVAs (spacewalks) on U.S. time and now we are changing our schedule to do the Russian EVA on Moscow time. That means a pretty big shift. Right now we wake up 0200 GMT (9:00 p.m. EST). It has taken all of us a little while to get us to this. The time went away last weekend making it a really short weekend. That was painful. Not much time to catch up on e-mail, etc. Finally this weekend we have a normal weekend.