Spaceflight is an adventure, but being so far away from Earth comes with its challenges. Astronauts have shared that familiar foods (ones they eat on Earth) can be a huge source of comfort in space; these comforts will come to play an even more significant role as long-duration space travel and future life in space habitats become increasingly within reach. How can we meet the nutritional, performance, and emotional needs of astronauts, as well as future space travelers, through food? PLIX Space Food supports the exploration of these questions through speculative design workshops for imagining the future of meal preparation, dining rituals, and sensory experiences in outer space!

This activity was developed in collaboration with Maggie Coblentz, an industrial designer and space food researcher who works with the MIT Media Lab Space Exploration Initiative.

What we ❀️ about this activity

  • Offers a non-technical entry point for engaging with outer space. By emphasizing the social and cultural aspects of spaceflight, this activity invites learners of all backgrounds to get started with design for outer space environments.
  • Encourages collaboration and co-design. Patrons are encouraged to work together to think through designs, communicate ideas, and share their inventions.
  • Supports multi-cultural dialogue. Through the sharing of recipes and culinary traditions, this activity shines a spotlight on the lived experience of patrons.
  • No new materials required. The space food workshop prompts can be easily run with on-hand or leftover craft materials and/or recyclables.

Workshop Prompt Inspiration

  • Make a zero-gravity cookbook πŸ³πŸš€ – Adapt your favorite recipe or mealtime ritual for preparation by astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
  • Invent a space utensil or kitchen appliance ⏲️πŸ₯’ – Create a tool that makes it easier for astronauts to cook or dine in space!
  • Film a cooking show for astronauts πŸŽ¬πŸ‘©πŸΎβ€πŸš€ – Showcase tips, tricks, and techniques that astronauts might use to prepare a favorite recipe while aboard the ISS.
  • Design for sustainability in space β™»οΈπŸŒŒ – Create tools or recycling systems that allow astronauts to turn food waste into useful materials!

Try it!

On our PLIX Activity Repository, you'll find the full documentation for the Space Food activity! All of our PLIX activities include background information, materials lists, workshop guides, and facilitator resources.

We think it’s important to share what we’re making so anyone can get started with creative STEAM learning. All of our PLIX learning materials are openly licensed (CC-BY-SA 4.0) and free to download.

Share your experience running these workshops on the PLIX Discussion Forum or on social media using #PLIXSpaceFood πŸ‘©β€πŸš€