Thanksgiving Day: Nasa's astronauts are eating irradiated turkey, freeze-dried mushrooms and thermostabilised yams in space

Irradiated Turkey, Freeze-dried mushrooms and Thermostabilised cherry-blueberry cobbler all on the menu this Thanksgiving

As the majority of American families look forward to tucking into their Thanksgiving meals this weekend, spare a thought for those on the International Space Station.

Instead of squash soup, warm cornbread and Pumpkin pie, American astronauts Barry 'Butch' Wilmore of Nasa and Terry Virts will have to settle for freeze dried mash potatoes, thermostabilised yams and irradiated turkey. 

In a video released by Nasa on Wednesday, Nasa’s Space Station Food System Manager Vickie Kloeris gave an insight into what those on the space station could be expecting to eat today, and it is far from gourmet.

While the menu will include all of the conventional Thanksgiving ingredients, the way the food is prepared and served will be far less ‘traditional.’

Nasa's Thanksgiving Menu


Irradiated Turkey with thermostabilised candied yams


Freeze-dried mushrooms, mashed potatoes and green beans


Thermostabilised cherry-blueberry cobbler


Powdered tea with sugar and lemon

With no refrigerators on board and an emphasis on keeping packaging weight down, the foods will not require an oven or hob, but instead, a pair of scissors and hot water.

The Turkey, an essential for any Thanksgiving Day meal, will be served in a bag that has sat in the Space station for months and be edible as a result of irradiation, the process in which meat is exposed to concentrated radiation to kill off bacteria.


To accompany the turkey, Wilmore and Virts will get the chance to devour some thermostabilised candied yams, alongside powdered cornbread dressing, mash potatoes, green beans and mushrooms all made edible by the addition of hot water.

This will be concluded with a Thermostabilised cherry-blueberry cobbler and washed down by some powdered tea with sugar and lemon.

And for for those disgruntled designated Thanksgiving cooks, it could be worse.

According to Kloeris, the menu took a total of 18 months to create.

Yet it is not all bad news for Wilmore and Virts, if they are still feeling a bit peckish after their 'Thanksgiving  feast', they will always get the chance to dip into the meals of their Russian and European counterparts on the Space Station.

Irradiated turkey, followed by Freeze-dried goulash, is there a better combination?