Barilla pasta enters Space on the astronauts' menu

A very special taste test: Barilla pasta will fly into orbit together with the astronauts who will leave for the International Space Station (ISS) late January. The reason is scientific: to test the resistance of food to the tooth in the absence of gravity. Three kg of Barilla fusilli will be in the space capsule that will carry the crew of the Ax-3 mission to the ISS for two weeks, including Air Force Colonel Walter Villadei. The astronauts will be involved in a series of sensory experiments, to better understand the needs related to nutrition in extreme conditions. In fact, in the absence of gravity, the experience of food and the perception of flavors change.

“We have been producing pasta for more than 140 years - explains Paolo Barilla, vice president of the Barilla Group - Being part of this space mission fills us with pride and allows us to explore a new frontier of nutrition, giving astronauts the sensation of feeling a little At home". The initiative was born from the collaboration between Barilla, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Sovereignty and Forestry, the Air Force and Axiom Space to support the candidacy of Italian cuisine as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. In space, where there is no gravity, preparing and consuming food represents a major technological challenge. Many daily activities that we take for granted on Earth become real missions in space that require careful planning and meticulous preparation. The preparation of food, for example, involves not so much cooking but its rehydration or heating of products already ready for use in the devices on the Space Station.

Consequently, pasta must also adapt to this need. Boiling it in the classic pot full of salted water, a gesture that millions of people perform every day, is not possible in microgravity. Hence, Barilla will send pasta to the space station which is already cooked and ready to be heated and enjoyed. Barilla's Research and Development team worked to ensure that the recipe based on pasta, extra virgin olive oil and sea salt represents the Italian experience, ensuring it is al dente. “We have managed to create a fusilli that can be pre-cooked and stabilized without losing its goodness - underlines Cristina Gallina, global discovery center director Barilla - The product has been treated only with heat, so that it can be safe even by storing it at a temperature for a long time environment, without the addition of preservatives or additives. It is the closest product to tradition that we can bring into space today."

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