Astronauts chill out by making their own pizza in space aboard the International Space Station

Tuesday, 05 December 2017, 01:50:58 AM. This is how astronauts chill on the space station.

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Thankfully, life without pizza isn’t something we have to ponder on Earth, but for the astronauts aboard the International Space Station, a giant slice is not a regular menu item. When Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli of the European Space Agency told his boss about his pizza craving in a live event, it spurred a special delivery to the ISS. Astronauts then enjoyed a rare pizza night, although their pies weren't in the form of the ooey, gooey, cheesy goodness we’re used to seeing.

Related: What Will Astronauts Eat in Space This Thanksgiving?

As posted in a video on YouTube, the astronauts created their own pizzas using Boboli crust, sauce, pepperoni and other toppings. Cheese is notably not on the menu. As we previously reported, the International Space Station team can choose their meals from more than 200 standard menu items.

Pizza is not on the list, but astronauts can dine on dishes like chicken fajitas, salmon, spaghetti and bread pudding. On Thanksgiving, the team even put together their own holiday-like meal with smoked turkey, mashed potatoes, cornbread dressing and cherry blueberry cobbler (the more traditional pumpkin pie is not a standard menu item).

NASA food scientist Vickie Kloeris explained to Newsweek that the menu has been consistent since Expedition 16 (currently, they’re on 53). Creating new menu items is expensive, and time consuming, as recipes are tweaked several times before reaching the final, winning combination.

“What works when you’re preparing a recipe for eight, doesn’t necessarily work when you’re scaling it up for 200,” she said. “Then when you take it and freeze-dry it and thermostabilize it, it changes the product.”

And sometimes, despite their best efforts, some foods just will never be space friendly, like cheesecake.

“We could not get the color that one would associate with cheesecake, and the texture that most people would consider acceptable for a cheesecake,” said Kloeris.

Occasionally, a commercial cargo vehicle with empty freezer space will be sent up, which is good news for the astronauts. “If they do, and they can spare the mass, they’ll allow us to send ice cream treats to the crew members,” explained Kloeris. 

While the menu is fairly expansive, everyone is bound to miss some of their favorite foods, like pizza. For those instances when lasagna and meat sauce (which is one of the few Italian dishes on the menu) just won’t cure a craving, the team can bring commercial items aboard the space station, hence the Boboli pizza crust.

A New York slice it is not, but Nespoli deemed it unexpectedly delicious.

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