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NASA's last shuttle crew invites the public to 'virtual dinner'

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Thursday meal will include classic American summer dishes
  • The public can visit NASA's website to get the "special space recipes"

(CNN) -- NASA has invited the public to share a virtual "All-American Meal" with the Atlantis shuttle crew Thursday.

"It's an opportunity to share the mission with the public in a unique way," Kylie Clem, NASA spokesperson, said.

The four shuttle crew members, and possibly the six International Space Station crew members, will take part. The meal will include grilled chicken, barbecue brisket and baked beans, NASA said.

Earthlings can visit NASA's website to get the recipes, or "formulations" as NASA's food scientists call them, to enjoy the same summer favorites.

"Since the mission is in July, we thought it would be fun to have a typical summer meal often enjoyed in our backyards with friends and family," Michele Perchonok, a NASA food scientist and manager of the shuttle food system, said.

Clem doesn't know if NASA has ever included the public in a virtual meal before.

"I think we have in the past explained what the meals are ... so I can't rule it out," Clem said.

The crew members will top off the meal with apple pie.

NASA's food scientists serve more than 180 different kinds of food and drink to crew members. The food is freeze-dried or bought commercially and repackaged.