NASA's crab cake, made at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Samantha Bresnahan / CNN
NASA's crab cake, made at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.
CNN —  

Astronauts consume some 3,000 calories a day while they’re in space. Providing them with a nutritious diet is the job of NASA’s food scientists at the Johnson Space Center, in Houston.

But their menu is designed to do more than just keep astronauts healthy: food plays an important role in our psychological well being – and that’s as true in space as it is on Earth.

That’s why space food isn’t simply protein shakes and vitamin pills – it’s real food, freeze dried and rehydrated before eating. Take NASA’s crab cakes, for example. Tasty, healthy and made with real ingredients, they could grace any Earthbound kitchen. And if you fancy sampling some authentic space food, you can even make them yourself, following NASA’s recipe.


3lbs crab Meat, large lump

205g bread crumbs, Panko

340g Duke’s Mayonnaise

120.2g egg beater, eggs

30.9g Dijon mustard, low sodium

13.9g Worcestershire sauce

0.8g pepper, white ground

1.5g cayenne pepper, ground

2.3g parsley, dried

76.6g shallot, minced fresh

51.7g bell pepper, orange diced fine

52.0g bell pepper, red diced fine

57.9g pimento, diced

38.9g scallions, fresh chopped fine

Non-stick spray


Make sure there is no shell in the crab meat.

Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl.

Let sit 5-10 minutes for breadcrumbs to absorb mixture.

Weigh 4oz patties, form into rounds

Place onto a baking sheet-tray that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.

Bake in an oven preheated to 350F [or 325F if convection] for 12 minutes or until just brown.

*Modified from the original recipe for freeze drying


Donna Nabors