Space food has come a long way since John Glenn choked down bite-sized cubes, freeze dried foods, and semi-liquids in aluminum toothpaste-type tubes to become the first human to eat a meal in space*. Hopefully, by the time the space elevator is built, there will be space farms and zero-gravity food preparation technology that better approximate eating on Earth (except for that floating thing).
A recent European Space Agency (Quicktime/WMP) video "gives an overview of the meals served on the ISS on normal days and at special occasions [and] also outlines the underlying nutritional and psychological factors that determine what astronauts [eat] in orbit."
These guys are eating "a Sicilian starter followed by roast quail in a wine sauce and rice pudding with dried fruit." It sounds better than my menu for today but, due to the stress of the small environment and work they do, food is the main source of relaxation and joy for International Space Station crew according to ESA astronaut Thomas Reiter who moderates a report about food for some experts on the ground in this video.
Oh, and the answer to the question posed in the headline? Velcro, baby, Velcro.
*Yuri Gagarin did test food and water samples experimentally but his single-orbit flight did not require a meal.
Phil Richter, the conference coordinator for the Space Exploration 2007 Conference and Second Space Elevator Conference taking place in Albuquerque, NM March 25-28, 2007, was a guest on the February 20th edition of The Space Show™.
Hosted by Dr. David Livingston, The Space Show™ focuses on timely and important issues influencing the development of outer-space commerce and space tourism, as well as other related subjects of interest to us all.
I didn't catch it live but it ended up on the media stack I go through to find stories for the SEJ and listened to it from the show archives. One of the most interesting things to come out of the show for me was the educational experience available to the general public.
Anyone interested in space will be able to talk to the various presenters (see the conference schedule for details) about the progress in space exploration and the space elevator and there will be two open sessions, both moderated by Dr. Bryan Laubscher.
One is called Shotgun Science where any attendee can give a 5-minute talk on any space-related topic, concept or observation they have.
The other is the Global Space Elevator Road Map Workshop a three-hour brainstorming session where everyone can contribute ideas.
Students have not been forgotten. SEC2007 has a special rate for full-time students of $50 (vs. $300) + $25 for optional banquet. Course credit is not available from the conference but SEC2007 is a 501 (3C) non-profit educational organisation so students should speak to their teachers about getting credit for attending.
The point is the open sessions won't work if you don't come. If you were thinking about attending stop thinking and register. Unfortunately the hotel discount officially ended on February 28th but there's no harm in asking for it anyway.
Please be sure to mention you heard about the conference on the Space Elevator Journal.