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Turkey Day In Space: What's On the Menu [VIDEO]

Nov 27, 2014 02:09 PM EST
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If you think that astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) are still sipping up their Thanksgiving turkey through straws, you're behind the times. Modern astronauts will be enjoying a "somewhat traditional" dinner with all the trimmings. It just sounds a little stranger.

That's at least according to the NASA blog, which describes how the six ISS crewmembers of Expedition 42 will be enjoying their beans, yams, cranberry sauce, cornbread, and turkey just like everyone else in the US.

The main difference is that each of these items boast names that might make you reconsider taking seconds.

"Their menu will include traditional holiday fare with a space-food flair - irradiated smoked turkey, thermostabilized candied yams and freeze-dried green beans and mushrooms. The meal also will feature NASA's own freeze-dried cornbread dressing - just add water," the US space agency reported. "Dessert features thermostabilized cherry-blueberry cobbler."

Mmmmm... "thermostabilized"... It may sound unpleasant, but in actuality, thermostabilization is a process we use on food even back on Earth. The food is just preserved with constant heat and pressure, ensuring no pesky microorganisms can role in to start facilitating spoil and rot.

And as for that "irradiated" smoked turkey, the astronauts are not exposing themselves to radiation just to have a proper dinner. Food irradiation is another process even used back on Earth to ensure shelf-life, where brief energy exposure can strip a food of any dwelling microorganisms and even improve re-hydration. However, it has been criticized in the past, as it leads to some chemical changes in a product that are different than traditional heating - potentially altering taste, according to the American Dietetic Association. Still, it's perfectly safe.

On the station, Flight Engineers Anton Shkaplerov, Alexander Samokutyaev, and Elena Serova of Russia's Roscosmos and Italian Flight Engineer Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency, will be joining Commander Barry "Butch" Wilmore and Flight Engineer Terry Virts of NASA for the feast, making it an international affair.

The best and brightest of multiple nations sharing a table while they float above the beautiful planet they call home - it's an image of cooperation that we all should be thankful for.

[Credit: ReelNASA]

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