Page 3 Profile: Major Tim Peake, astronaut

 

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The Independent Online

In space, no one can hear you scream – for decent grub.

That’s why, in a bid to avoid any more dreadful space food, British astronaut Tim Peake has launched a competition for schoolchildren to help create a great British meal for him to eat in orbit.

The 42-year-old has teamed up with the UK Space Agency to encourage children aged 8 to 14 to come up with a British meal that he can show off to his International Space Station crew mates.

What do they eat on the ISS?

According to Tim, the food is – as he politely puts it – not as “nice  as it could be”. He described it  as “mushy” and lacking taste  and texture.

For a variety of reasons – weight, lack of storage space, absence of gravity, distance from the nearest supermarket – much of the food that’s sent up to the  ISS is dehydrated and contained  in vacuum packs. Meat is irradiated beforehand to help it  keep for longer.

Crew members rehydrate and heat it, and often eat food straight from the packet or through straws.

Sounds truly appetising…

It’s made worse by the fact that astronauts usually lose their sense of smell when they’re in space because the lack of gravity leaves them with a blocked nose. This if course makes the food less tasty.

Anything crumbly is banned too as the bits can get into the machinery, and for health reasons salt is kept to a minimum.

Spicy food is therefore quite popular, and the Russians have been known to request lots of hot sauce.

So maybe fish ’n’ chips or a good old Sunday roast then?

Maybe. The UK Space Agency want it to be “tasty and nutritious”, but with a “British twist” for him and the crew.

Chichester born Tim is married with two sons and formerly served in the British Army Air Corps. Earlier this year, he suggested the ISS should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Will the winners get to cook their creations in space?

No, but they will work with celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal, who will help them develop their recipe into something out of this world.

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