Thursday, January 11, 2018

Spirits in Space

Drunk Astronaut jk - image source: Jeremy Geddes

I tried to look for some info about why feeding astronauts is so hard; taste and smell just don’t act the same out there. It seems like we still aren’t sure why this problem exists, though the menu has made significant improvements since the days of liquid borscht balls floating in microgravity.

I did, however, come across this interesting mention about a time when astronauts requested an aperitif to celebrate their mission. Paul Masson Rare Cream Sherry was purchased for a Skylab mission, one for the spaceship, and one for testing prior. (Everything has to be tested.) Problem 1. NASA was afraid that people – the public – wouldn’t be cool with drinking in space. Problem 2. Smells move way faster in microgravity, and alcohol is very volatile meaning it evaporates into the air faster. Because of all this it was found to trigger the gag reflex. No drinking in space.

Shoot, let’s not forget, however, that there was this time a distillery sent their whiskey into orbit to see how it ferments differently.

Ross-Nazzal, Jennifer (7 April 2006). "Edited Oral History Transcript - Charles T. Bourland". NASA Johnson Space Center Oral History Project. link

Post Script
Speaking of smells and space:
Limbic Signal, 2017

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