How Astronauts Celebrate Thanksgiving

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons / Wikimedia Commons

While American families everywhere sit down at the dining room table for a holiday feast, astronauts will be having their own party—260 miles above Earth.

Thanksgiving is a working day on the International Space Station (ISS), but after their work is complete, the six crew members will enjoy a meal similar to what's on your table, albeit with a twist: irradiated smoked turkey, thermostabilized yams, and freeze-dried green beans. They’ll also enjoy NASA’s cornbread dressing, home-style potatoes, cranberries, and cherry-blueberry cobbler.

The crewmembers have NASA food scientist Vickie Kloeris to thank for their holiday meal. Kloeris has worked in space food development and production since 1985. Beginning in January 2000, Kloeris managed the International Space Station’s food system. She is also behind the idea of growing plants in space for food.

NASA is currently researching and developing ways to extend the shelf-life of food needed for deep space missions, which can take months or years to complete.