Who didn’t, at one time or another, want to be an astronaut? I know I did. Exploring other worlds and flying to places no one has ever been to – how exciting is that? The only thing that I could see that would make this fantasy even better is the idea of eating bacon in space. Imagine how happy I was to hear that bacon has had a long history in space! All of the details about Space Bacon follow after the jump.

In Space, No One Can Hear You Eat Corned Beef Sandwiches

Astronauts, like anyone, need to eat. But space eating is complicated. The biggest problem is that while travelling through space, astronauts experience zero gravity. If you eat something that is liable to breaks apart, crumbs of it can either fly into sensitive equipment, risking a major technical issue. Or these tiny crumbs can get lodged in nasal cavities (toast is apparently very bad for this). Food can be such a major issue on a space flight that two astronauts once got dressed down for smuggling a corned beef sandwich on board.

To avoid these problems, all food that goes into space has to be specially prepared so that it doesn’t break apart or spill. It’s also important to make food that can last in a storage locker during the potential delays that many space flights have to deal with. If the space shuttle or flight is in space for a long time, the food has to last even longer. This is where specially prepared food like bacon bars comes in.

Bacon Bars…IN SPACE

Bacon bars have been on space flights since the beginning. Since you can’t fry bacon in space – imagine the grease splatter in a zero-gravity environment! – bacon is cooked beforehand and then made into dried bars. The Astronaut’s Cookbook provides one “recipe.” They suggest cooking a pound of bacon until it’s delicious, then breaking it up into pieces and putting it into a hamburger press. Then they suggest you exert 3,000 pounds of force for 10 seconds. (Uhm, yeah.) After that, you’ve got a bacon bar! As I don’t plan to put my car on my hamburger press, this recipe will have to remain “theoretical” … for now.

The Future of Bacon Bars

Unfortunately, the experience of bacon bars may not last much longer. Scientists are looking for ways to make space food last even longer. After all, if humans are going to go to Mars, they are going to need to take a couple years worth of food with them. This means they are going to have to leave some things behind that just won’t stay fresh, and that they can’t grow easily. Unfortunately, this means bye-bye bacon. Mike Dixon, a scientist working on space food says that most astronauts in the future will be (boo!) vegetarians. “Oh yeah, if you’re going to Mars, you’re a vegetarian,” Dixon said. “After the bacon that you carry in your back pocket is gone, it’s all over. And you can’t carry enough bacon to last 18 months.” MAYBE YOU SHOULD TRY HARDER MIKE DIXON. THAT’S WHAT WE’RE PAYING YOU FOR.

But even if we can’t enjoy bacon in space in reality, we can stare at this picture, and enjoy it in our dreams. Why is the cat riding a piece of bacon in space? Shhh – sometimes the most important questions don’t have answers.