Given the lack of kitchen appliances on a space shuttle and the constraints of a weightless environment (anything that produces small crumbs and could be accidentally inhaled, for example, is dangerous), scientists are constantly looking for ways to improve the quality and variety of foods that astronauts eat in space. One thing researchers have discovered in their efforts to come up with new and creative menu items? Astronauts really like hot sauce.
After a few days in space, astronauts “may start craving foods they didn’t necessarily like on Earth,” Joe Palca of NPR’s Food Blog reports.
Why the sudden hankering for the hot pepper sauce?
Jean Hunter, a food engineer at Cornell told NPR that astronauts may start to crave spicy foods because they lose their sense of smell — due the loss of gravity that creates a “head cold” effect — which, in turn, limits taste. Researchers theorize that a loss of smell may be replaced by “the heat of peppers.”
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