A team of Indian military boffins has been tasked with a particularly tricky mission: to develop a curry to be consumed by astronauts in space.
Last month India had approved a 1.1-billion pound manned mission, and plans to send a man into space by 2015 and hopes to send some familiar food with him.
AdvertisementHowever, making food that tastes good in space can be a tedious task, according to A. S. Bawa, the director of the Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL), who is tackling the project.
Bawa said his team faced several hurdles.
"Curry tends to be spicy, high in fat content and uses many ingredients; all these factors present significant challenges," The Telegraph quoted him, as telling The Times.
"We cannot afford the stomach of an astronaut to be strained," he added.
Spicy meals and hot sauces are being avoided, says Bawa, because they could be hard to digest in zero gravity.
"When an astronaut is happy on all fronts, we would like to think his performance is enhanced . . . but so far, we are limited to very mild dishes," he said.
The astronauts were expected to miss traditional snacks - such as the pancake-like dosa - the most, he said.
"Developing a dosa for space? It's never been done before . . . fried bhajis? Very challenging - we can use only minimal oil. But if the mission demands it, we are ready to look into it," he said.