How astronauts cured peanuts in space

Image copyright Jeff Hoffman Image caption Jeff Hoffman picks the pepper using a special tool

A commercial food company has shown off the first time peanuts have been cooked in space with peppers on board the International Space Station (ISS).

The ISS crew prepped the peanuts while an artificial pepper was blasted into space from the NASA ISS rocket.

The company, Pop Secret, says the non-stick tool allowed them to achieve the result with a blazing edge.

The full video has been posted on YouTube .

It shows Jeff Hoffman, a food technologist at NASA, preparing the peppers for the crew.

Work is continuing to create and launch rockets for portable food production units

A US Senate committee has asked the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to provide additional details about the space pepper on the ISS, where people pay up to $50m for a stay on the Russian Soyuz capsules.

The vegetable producer later hopes to make space food for astronauts in Earth orbit.

Pop Secret wants astronauts on the ISS to know that it can develop ready-to-eat meals and the company says it will trial some of its recipes in Earth orbit before it lands on the moon.

The peppers are said to have been irradiated (an atmosphere-free version of radiation) to make them resistant to common fungi and moulds.

Each mission to the ISS has a slightly different flavour profile, so it is difficult to say which versions of the peppers were eaten by astronauts while onboard the ISS, Pop Secret says.

Initially the peppers were pre-cooked using propane gas and then after reheating were put into a process the company describes as “nut-topable”.

By contrast space rocket flight has apparently allowed Pop Secret to prepare a bowl of peanuts much as it would back on Earth.

The company says that after the Earth-based test it expects to produce all its products from lunar soil.

After the test, the rocket and food processing equipment that rocketed the astronauts’ alfalfa and potato blend into space was sent back on the ISS.

Pop Secret says the egg recipe for Earth-bound recipes is very similar to its rocket-made recipe.

First established in the 1970s, the technology behind the rocket has evolved to be very efficient, very small and very highly efficient, compared to other projects, the company says.

“The material for the aluminium fin being used at the time, for example, was about as effective as a normal clothes hanger,” says Pop Secret food technologist Jeff Hoffman.

Also this year, SpaceX and Boeing are preparing to begin taking astronauts to and from the ISS.

NASA is providing two hardware modules to the ISS, the European Space Agency is providing a laboratory with in-room robots and the US space agency is preparing to fly its first SLS rocket to the ISS in 2021.

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