Long-distance travelers flying out of Germany this summer will be offered extraterrestrial eats on board all Lufthansa aircraft. According to a press release from the airline, business class passengers on some flights will be able to dine like an astronaut in-flight to celebrate Alexander Gerst’s six-month mission aboard the International Space Station, which began in June.
The dinners are identical to the spaceman’s real-life “bonus meals” — special dishes meant to be eaten on rare occasions when astronauts are feeling especially homesick. Lufthansa’s catering and hospitality service, LSG Group, developed the bonus meals for Gerst’s mission; his pick-me-ups include cheese spaetzle with bacon and chicken ragout with mushrooms. To serve as authentic out-of-this-world meals, each offering had to be low in sodium and have a shelf life of two years.
Six months likely feels like a lifetime without things like McDonald’s, Chipotle, and Chick-fil-A, but travelers in outer space increasingly have the opportunity to enjoy the luxury of Earthly eats. In 2017, the inhabitants of the International Space Station — aboard which there is apparently a bottle of sriracha floating around — were able to enjoy chocolate and vanilla ice cream and make-your-own flatbread pizzas. That same year, KFC sent a chicken sandwich into orbit and scientists successfully grew mangoes outside Earth's atmosphere.