Potato Soup, Apollo 13
q The Apollo meal program was a long experiment in balancing ease of transport with astronauts’ nutritional and psychological needs. Dehydrating astronauts’ food solved a weight problem: Water is heavy. The water used to reconstitute the food was created as a byproduct of the fuel cells, so no extra had to be carried. Connect a water gun to the nozzle, knead the package for a few minutes, and : some
voilà what-recognizable nourishment. The first few missions’ reconstituted meals were primarily mush to be squeezed from a tube into the mouth, Fla-vor-ice style. This soup is an example of a later refinement, the spoon-bowl package. The top (opposite the water nozzle) would be cut off, enabling the astronaut to eat with a spoon like a human being. Seafood was surprisingly popular; Apollo 17 crew members got lobster bisque, though apparently as an appetizer for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Because of the technological problems that befell their mission, the Apollo 13 astronauts endured strict water rations—six ounces per day—which they supplemented with juices and wet-pack food that did not need to be reconstituted. So the dehydrated soup was left over. Commander Jim Lovell returned to Earth 14 pounds lighter. The Museum has its own bag of potato soup, from Apollo 11, though it is currently on loan. Jurvetson paid $8,000 at auction for this bag. Who’s hungry?