Food for Starlings – Perfect Pablum

Have you ever wondered what astronauts might eat in space or what could be sustainable for them in space? Take a look!

Some of Dr. Duncan-Enzmann’s considerations of what long-passage travelers would eat while in space, especially on colonizing missions. Written in the 1960s. 

Not for the birds: Not worms, but standard foods comparable to those eaten by Earthlings

  • Starship as a soaring ark (need to take various edible living creatures to populate a new world)
  • Comparison with food available to current astronauts
  • Diets designed to satisfy nutritional requirements
  • Far more healthful and satisfying than the meals served to voyagers aboard the Mayflower and better than those consumed by many people today


Especially important for voyagers on difficult missions aimed at colonizing distant worlds

  • To promote well-being
  • To maximize work efficiency
  • To diminish sickness
  • To increase longevity


Fuel for Human Propulsion

  • Input, thru-put, output – stages of metabolism: Anabolism and catabolism
  • Counting calories -caloric requirements
  • Weighed in the balances -rations of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats in balanced diets
  • Gambling in the amino casino – with either incomplete proteins that are deficient in at least one of the eight essential amino acids, or supplementation with ‘free-form’ or peptide-bonded amino acids
  • Marathoners ‘carbo-loading – importance of complex carbohydrates in healthful diets
  • Not all fats are created equal – good fats and bad fats: needs and dangers
  • Overfed and undernourished: typical American diet
  • To each according to his/her needs
  • Individual differences in vitamin and mineral requirements
  • A plurality of golden means
  • One man’s meat…
  • Fluids and fiber
  • Dangers of dietary excesses and deficiencies
  • Water: Liquid fuel


Recycled but ‘ideal’

  • Purified processed urine: as good as new
  • Reverse osmosis produces ideal drinking water as judged in terms of three parameters and as measured by the Vincent Machine
  • Wide range of drinks made from powdered formulas


Interstellar Dining

  • For gourmets, not gourmands – neither fasting nor feasting, but the enjoyment of a variety of carefully prepared natural foods
  • Almost a smorgasbord – (opportunities for choice to satisfy individual preferences and to provide variety
  • Catering to preferences – tastiness, not just palatability
  • Fresh from the garden, no raw deal – a wide range of plentiful vegetables, fiber
  • No grain drain – plenty of grain, though nothing corny; criteria: height, yield, maturity
  • Something to crow about – chickens and their eggs
  • Of rabbits and rats – but no turkeys
  • Even pigs and dwarf cattle
  • Soy milk: replacement of the udder drink – the only rationale for putting cows in space might to be fire the first herd shot around the world.  (No corn in space?)
  • Pollen: from stingless bees in mini-hives
  • Fruits are for Earthlings – except for an occasional tree spree: fruits from dwarf citrus trees
  • No lakes for fishing (though could take along some powdered Omega 3
  • Supplementation with nutritious flavored powders
  • Spice is the variety of life – spectrum of different flavorings, textures, etc.


Later Starships: A Variety of Menus

  • Expansion of modest variety offered by the first starship
  • Three representative menus
  • Vegetarians’ delight
  • Chicken and eggs
  • Longevity option
  • For health nuts who refuse to emulate fast food freaks
  • The ‘Grim Reaper’ – harvests beyond the fields of the earth
  • Not suspended animation but extended animation – eating properly and traveling faster; two ways to slow the aging process
  • Especially important on a starship
  • Slim and trim; under-nutrition without malnutrition – emphasis on complex carbohydrates; measured mega-doses of specific nutrients
  • Exotic products: production of ‘food vitamins’ and antioxidant enzymes
  • Supplements – chemical substances that are neither vitamins nor minerals but have recognized benefits


Catastrophe insurance: Freeze-dried powder

  • Manna from heaven – each morning, daily portion of nutritious food, provisions for many years
  • A pound a day – designed to meet all known nutritional needs: calories, proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, chlorophyll, fiber, etc.
  • Keeping the powder dry – no proclivity to rancidity (like an Egyptian mummy – pressed for time)
  • Taking a powder
  • Mixture with an equal amount of water
  • Diverse flavorings – need a gourmet cook for all seasonings
  • Five formulas


Food for thought: Manifest Destiny

  • Colonists: if pushed by their food, pulled by their expectations of exploration and colonization
  • Crew members: likewise, pulled by expectations of exploration, also, of life extension by traveling at relativistic speeds (as  well as by longevity diets)
  • Motivation for deferred gratification, if starship food at times seems to be only adequate rather than optimal