Space pizzas look truly dreadful

In the largely forgettable movie Threesome, there is a much-quoted line: “sex is kinda like pizza – when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good.” Well, the latest video from NASA seems to be pushing that hypothesis to absolute breaking point.

To be clear, there are plenty of fun things about being an astronaut, but the food most definitely isn’t a selling point. Due to the low-gravity environment, the astronauts are only allowed toppings that stick to the crust, which limits options to begin with. Then there’s the crust itself, which has to be as crumb-free as possible to avoid gumming up the electronics.

The result looks like the kind of disappointing dining experience that makes those 99p convenience store pizzas look like Papa John’s.

Still, the astronauts look happy enough – and with good reason. You don’t have to go back too far in space history to realise just how much worse it could be. The earliest astronauts, lest we forget, had meals composed of “bite-sized cubes, freeze-dried powders and semi-liquids stuffed in aluminium tubes”. Mmm, mmmm, mmm.

Things did pick up a little by the time of the Gemini missions, but the standard was still some way away from fine dining. On the menu by the mid-1960s was a delectable selection of gelatin-coated cubes and freeze-dried foods. Shrimp, vegetables and chicken – after a fashion – were now on the table. Or rather, floating above the table.

Things were so bad that by the time Gemini III rolled around, a crewmember felt obliged to smuggle a corned beef sandwich aboard. That little act of culinary rebellion earned them a disciplinary and a congressional hearing, but it probably felt worth it at the time.

So whether or not these pizzas look like your idea of a good snack, we can at least say one thing: modern astronauts never had it so good.

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