Thanksgiving - By the Numbers

Scientists create Thanksgiving dinner for astronauts in space

Even astronauts in space want to celebrate Thanksgiving, so scientists at the Space Food Research Facility at Texas A&M University have found a way to make it easier — and more authentic.

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ABC News reports the team created holiday-themed items such as sliced turkey, candied yams and apricot cobbler for astronauts. Dr. Bonnie Dunbar, a retired NASA astronaut and professor at A&M’s Department of Aerospace Engineering, said that the food is distributed in a pouch, but still contains that traditional taste.

"For many of them [in space], this is kind of a way to connect back to Earth as well," she told ABC News. "Meal times, whether you're in space, whether you're exploring or traveling, a special occasion like this takes on a great deal of psychological importance as well — it's a time of rest, relaxation and camaraderie. So, it was fun to taste all of these Thanksgiving dishes."

What's more, Mission Control promises to beam up some live NFL games, NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough said, according to The Associated Press.

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As to the food, Dunbar said she has taken 50 trips to space and is used to a blander food offering.

"Food was there for nutrition, but it was most often out of tubes and wasn't always that tasty," she told ABC News. "It's not just about the preservation of the food; now the taste is really extraordinary. The shrimp tastes just like shrimp cocktail with cocktail sauce, you couldn't tell the difference."

ABC News reports the astronauts generally taste the food and pick which pouches they want to bring up with them. Dunbar said for Thanksgiving this year, many of the astronauts will be enjoying sweet potato, corn and turkey.

Read more at ABC News.

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