Does food taste different in space?

Does food taste the same in space? Not at first, says the internet's favourite astronaut.

Chris Hadfield is an astronaut with the Canadian Space Agency who has been living aboard the International Space Station since December.

A prolific social media user, Hadfield regularly tweets pictures and videos to his fans and runs a question and answer feed on Reddit.

This week, Hadfield has gone the extra mile to answer a fan's question: "Does the food taste the same in orbit as it does on earth?"

"At first, no," explains Hadfield from a video posted on YouTube.

Why? Because on earth, our bodies are accustomed to pushing blood back up to our heads to work against gravity, he says.

In space, the body continues to "squeeze" that blood upwards, even though there's no gravity to push it back down.

"Your head sort of inflates like someone was squeezing the bottom of a balloon, and so your head fills up with fluid and your sinuses fill up," Hadfield says into the microphone floating in front of him.

"When you first get to space, for a little while you're all clogged up. So you can't even taste your food."

This lasts several days until your body reaches equilibrium, Hadfield says. After that, things are back to normal.

To prove that food's still good up in orbit, he then whips out a bag of "Canadian" snacks including maple cookies, smoked salmon pate and buffalo jerky.

"It's a really important social time of the day, when you can get together, talk about what everybody's doing.. and really try and share the human part of being in space."

- www.nzherald.co.nz

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