Saturday, January 01, 2005

The Space Candy Diet

Astronauts on Candy Diet After Pantry Raided

How does this happen? The fact that this happened is just dumb.
The food stores should be checked before a mission. How does the previous crew let fellow astronauts go into space with not enough food? The previous crew should be fired as well as the people who verify such things. There's no shame in hunger. The shame is not alerting someone that the projected food supply amount is not enough. The shame is letting the next crew go hungry. It's not like they can run to the nearest StopNGo. They're in space for frack's sake.

They may not belong in space just yet if they can't figure out something so simple.

The two U.S. and Russian astronauts on the International Space Station (news - web sites) had to rely on a candy-laden diet for five weeks because their predecessors raided the pantry.

"Both of us ended up losing a few pounds," U.S. astronaut Leroy Chiao said in a news conference from the station on Wednesday. "We looked at it as kind of a challenge, kind of a camping adventure, roughing it I guess."

Chiao and Russian cosmonaut Salizhan Sharipov, who arrived at the station in October, had to cut calories because the previous crew got into their food rations.

They had permission to do that but did not record how much they had eaten and "It was not until we got well into the mission, we started seeing on board we weren't going to have enough," Chiao said.

He and Sharipov inventoried the remaining food, which was heavy on candy and desserts, and worked out a diet to stretch their supplies until a new shipment of food arrived aboard a Russian cargo carrier on Saturday.

"We had to kind of cut back to about half rations of what I would call real food -- meat, potatoes, vegetables. We had to supplement and make up for part of that calorie deficit with sweets," Chiao said. "It was not an unhealthy diet but not an ideal diet."

The unmanned Russian supply ship brought 2.5 tonnes of food, water, equipment and other supplies, including family photos and other Christmas presents from home. The astronauts were still unpacking it on Wednesday.

Had the supply ship been delayed significantly, the astronauts would have had to cut short their six-month mission and return to Earth aboard a Soyuz capsule docked at the station.

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