Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ground control

There's a fascinating article on the NASA website about the approach to food on space missions in the 1960s. Apparently "On Christmas day, 1968, during the first lunar orbital mission, the Apollo 8 astronauts opened packages of thermostabilized turkey and gravy and ate with spoons". One of the biggest challenges was the astronauts' constant weight loss - not necessarily due to calorie expenditure (Buzz Aldrin used 300 calories an hour walking on the moon), but possibly because of stress, and how unappetising early food options were. "Inflight food consumption proved inadequate to maintain nutritional balance and body weight" and crews experienced nausea, anorexia, and "undesirable physiological responses".

I was laughing the other day thinking about Ali G's interview with Buzz Aldrin. Buzz reacts with appropriate dignity when the mugging Ali G keeps referring to him as "Buzz Lightyear" and asks him if he was jealous of Louis Armstrong for being the first man on the moon.

(Photo via NASA)

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