In the near future, astronauts
could be treated to the delicacy of Alaska
wild salmon; even as they orbit high above the ocean the fish came from.
Alexandra Oliveira and Brian
Himelbloom, associate professors at the University of Alaska Fairbanks School
of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, and a team of researchers have been studying
the potential of freeze-dried sockeye salmon as astronaut food using funding
from the University
of Alaska's Space Grant
Himelbloom said freeze-drying food
is common because it extends the shelf life of a product while retaining
nutritional value. Unlike conventional drying, freeze-drying involves lowering
both the pressure and the temperature so the structure of the product remains
-- (Space Fish 1: :19 sec "So
what we thought would ... freeze-dried
While the funding intended for the
freeze-dried salmon to be out of this world, Oliveira said it has very worldly
potential in the consumer marketplace.
-- (Space Fish 2: :15 sec "Camping
food ...for the military program.")
She said salmon wasn't chosen
for research solely on its availability in Alaska waters, but by the fact that it is so
-- (Space Fish 3: :49 sec "And
it provides very ... meets all these
The research has also
attracted the attention of the Department of Defense.
-- (Space Fish 4: :34 sec "So
the department of defense ... rigorous test.")
Oliveira and Himelbloom feel confident that the fish will pass the testing.
They plan to continue their own research on the shelf life of the freeze-dried
fish and conduct consumer taste testing here in Kodiak and at the university in
hopes that someday freeze-dried salmon could become a common product in grocery
stores as a salad topper, baby food, instant soup and other snack items.