The best part about preparing a Thanksgiving meal at home is that incredible array of fresh ingredients, herbs, and spices, and the warm aroma from baking all those pies you're not allowed to eat until after dinner. In space, Thanksgiving preparation is a little different. Sure, they still have to get all that smoked turkey, candied yams, and cornbread dressing ready, but rather than roasting everything at an excruciating pace over several hours, it's just a whole lot of rehydrating, as NASA reveals in the video above.
As you'd expect, everything comes in little vacuum-sealed bags to combat the microgravity of the International Space Station (ISS), so the first part is opening your packet of turkey tetrazzini and inserting it into the Space Food Systems Laboratory's rehydrating machine. This clever little machine simply fills the bag with hot water, which brings all that freeze-dried turkey garbage to life in seconds.
You can warm it up a bit more if you like, or simply cut a hole in the bag and enjoy with a spoon. Classy. Serve with rehydrated corn, candied yams, and potatoes au gratin.
So what are astronauts thankful for? As you in see in the special Thanksgiving 2015 message from US astronauts Scott Kelly and Kjell Lindgren, they're thankful for:
"[T]he opportunity to be up here on the International Space Station, working and living on this amazing orbiting laboratory, a physical manifestation of what is possible when the great countries of the world work together with communication, cooperation, and collaboration towards peaceful means - to perform research that benefits humanity back on Earth."
So what do astronauts do on Thanksgiving? They might not have their friends and family around, but they do get the day off, so Kelly says this year they're going to watch some football in their socks and have a Thanksgiving dinner of spacefood.
Watch the video below for Kelly and Lindgren's really sweet message, and see them lose it over the gloopy mess that is rehydrated candied yams. It basically looks like a chicken drumstick, and Lindgren can't handle it: