Insects like this bee are eaten as food in many countries. They may one day be used as food for astronauts.
Click on image for full size
Image courtesy of Corel Photography
Astronauts May Eat Insects
News story originally written on September 3, 1999
Have you ever grabbed a worm off the pavement after a long rain and taken it to school for lunch? Or maybe you once snatched a chirping cricket from the corner and popped it in your mouth. Sound disgusting? In several countries, eating insects is a delicacy or even a necessity. Of course, they are usually cooked!
These tasty critters are full of protein, which makes them a very healthy snack. This fact alone raises the possibility of one day taking a bucket of bugs into space. It would be very difficult for astronauts to bring a cow aboard, likewise they probably couldn't grow some corn. However, a colony of worms would be ideal for space travel. They are easily stored, and can reproduce during the flight.
"There are 3,687 species in the world of edible insects, and 400 in Mexico. They're extremely nutritional because most of their bodies are made up of proteins. They could be the foodstuff for long space journeys," said Julieta Ramos Elorduy, an insect specialist at Mexico City's UNAM university. She also wrote several cook books full of delicious bug recipes.
People in Mexico aren't waiting for the space age, they've known about these tasty insects for years. The most popular insects are bees, ants, worms and grasshoppers. Those that chow on these morsels must be careful of harmful insecticides that the bugs may carry. Some are bagging and bottling insects collected from crops that aren't sprayed with poison. "We are trying to bring some standardization into the sales process," says one of the packagers.
So the next time you're hungry and there is nothing in the fridge, why not heat up a few grasshoppers and have a healthy meal?
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, ranging from seismology
, rocks and minerals
, and Earth system science
You might also be interested in:
It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more
The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center at 2:19 p.m. EST, October 29th. The sky was clear and the weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit for the Unitied...more
A moon was discovered orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is only the second time in history that a satellite has been seen circling an asteroid. A special mirror allowed scientists to find the moon...more
Will Russia ever put the service module for the International Space Station in space? NASA officials are demanding an answer from the Russian government. The necessary service module is currently waiting...more
During a period of about two days in early May, 1998, the ACE spacecraft was immersed in plasma associated with a coronal mass ejection (CME). The SWICS instrument on ACE, which determines unambiguously...more
J.S. Maini of the Canadian Forest Service has referred to forests as the "heart and lungs of the world." Forests reduce soil erosion, maintain water quality, contribute to atmospheric humidity and cloud...more
In late April through mid-May 2002, all five naked-eye planets are visible simultaneously in the night sky! This is includes Mercury which is generally very hard to see because of its proximity to the...more