Educator Features

New Web Site Helps Students Learn about Space Food
NBL personnel working in the perchloric acid hood
Scientist working with NASA food technology
People of all ages with an interest in food and space travel now have a new source of information from the NASA Food Technology Commercial Space Center in the Iowa State University College of Agriculture. The center was established in 1999 to develop foods and food-processing technologies that enhance space missions and advance commercial food products.

Teachers visiting the Education Page can utilize the resources for teaching about space food. There are classroom activities for kindergarten through college level. Younger students can make a space food shake or investigate the parts of a space food tray. Older students can learn about the Space Food Product Development Activity.

A new page on the center's Web site is designed specifically for kids. It was developed by Regina Hendrickson, the center's Internet and graphics manager. "The center has done an excellent job of creating educational activities on topics relating to space foods," Hendrickson says. "Our Web site has a page that incorporates these activities and this new kids' page complements the educational offerings."
meals in microgravity

    The Web site offers six different activities for young people. "Meals in Microgravity" shows an interactive space food tray. When a cursor is rolled over items on the tray, details about the item and its significance to eating in the absence of gravity are shown.

cosmic cuisine

    "Cosmic Cuisine" involves matching a list of mystery foods with photos of the real items as they would appear in space. Sixteen foods are pictured including Italian vegetables, peach ambrosia, butterscotch pudding, mashed potatoes, turkey tetrazzini, oatmeal, cherry apple juice, scrambled eggs, tuna salad and shrimp cocktail.

solar search
    "Solar Search" has visitors help Yury Usachev, commander of Expedition Two, search for missing items as he prepares a meal in the International Space Station. "Galactic Gallery" encourages young people to submit space food or space-related drawings and letters. These are then posted on the Web.

terrestrial trivia
    "Terrestrial Trivia" includes 28 questions about space food and its history. For instance, on Feb. 20, 1962, John Glenn ate applesauce from an aluminum tube and chewed several malted milk tablets, making him the first U.S. astronaut to eat in space. Eating utensils were first used during the Apollo 8 mission to the moon in 1968. Before that, food and beverages were either consumed through a straw or tube or eaten by hand.

galactic gallery

    "Galactic Gallery" encourages young people to submit space food or space-related drawings and letters. These are then posted on the Web.

more space sites
    There also is a list of other Web sites designed to educate and entertain young people about space travel, and help build science and math skills. "Teachers have told us our Web site is a valuable classroom resource, especially when used in combination with the space food tray mockup kits available through ISU Extension offices," Hendrickson says. "The activities, bookmarks, space food labels, the new kids' page and other space-related information on the site are proving to be very useful in Iowa classrooms."
NASA Food Technology Commercial Space Center:

Activities for Kids:

Education Page:

Additional Resources:

NASA CONNECT Video: Better Health from Space to Earth:

Advanced Food Technology at NASA:

Excerpted from article by Susan Thompson, Iowa State University College of Agriculture