Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Space Freezer

Store frozen foods for long-term in space
  (+3, -2)
(+3, -2)
  [vote for,

The problem with freezers here on Earth is that they don't go as cold as they might -- some microbes can still survive at kitchen freezer temperatures. Which is why you can't store, for example, frozen meats forever in your freezer. Eventually the stuff will putrefy, as I recently discovered when cleaning out my freezer.

Here's an idea: take a bag of mylar, with a few holes in it to allow it ventilation to space, and fill it with frozen meats and other goods. Cover it in a foil of aluminium or gold to protect it from solar radiation. Then put it in space. In the darkness of the bag, the food contained will soon reach within two or three degrees of absolute zero, and be thus protected from the effects of microbial deterioration.

There is of course the problem of retrieving your food, I suppose it could be contained in a small remote-guided satellite, equipped with a heat-shield, that would come down from orbit when you summoned it. I assume that to make it worthwhile you'd store your frozen foods in bulk and launch them cheaply with what comes out of that N-Prize mission.)

For long term space missions we could imagine seeding space -- for example the path between Mars and Earth -- with hundreds of small satellites filled with such bags of frozen foods. Then manned missions between Earth and Mars could forgo carrying all their food and water cargo onboard, picking up the resupply packages as they went. It would save on shipboard space and weight.

qt75rx1, May 07 2008

Pizza satellite Pizza_20Satellite
GPS delivers on time and in the right spot. [django, May 07 2008]

Cosmo croissant CosmoCroissant
Internationalist space bakery initiative. [django, May 07 2008]

We have a perfect safety record. Orbital_20toaster
[normzone, May 07 2008]


4whom, May 07 2008

       Nalley's Comet?
Amos Kito, May 07 2008

       I thought the whole point of freezers was convenience?
DrCurry, May 07 2008

       I'll ignore the enormous cost for now, but in complete vacuum all the water would boil away, so I think this would freeze dry all the food and explode some, like eggs and probably potatoes. Also sadly aluminum foil will only protect you from some of the solar radiation. Solar flares and such are going to generate lots that won't be stopped. This is one of the reasons that we are so worried about the trip to Mars. Finally at the speeds necessary to get to Mars, a loaf of bread floating in space is more obsticle than resupply point. Ever been hit by a loaf of bread going mach 80+, it's bound to hurt.
MisterQED, May 07 2008

       Some foods might thaw out a little too much on re-entry.
hippo, May 07 2008

       This of course only works when the monkeys aren't busy typing.
django, May 07 2008

       "Ever been hit by a loaf of bread going mach 80+" - um, no. Has *anyone*?
DrCurry, May 07 2008

       I do see a synergy with baking space pizza's [link] and cosmo croissants [link], though.   

       The space bakery is becoming more feasible every day.
django, May 07 2008

       [MisterQED] makes good points about foil, and bread acceleration. The containers could use some work, maybe heavy pressurized cannisters, dehydrated food where posssible. Sunlight will be a huge factor in the amount of "freezing". But that chain of satellites is orbiting well into range of Sci-Fi.
Amos Kito, May 07 2008

       It would make more sense as an asteroid defense mechanism than sustaining a cabin crew.   

       "That asteroid would only hit earth if it can get past the Thanksgiving Dinner Belt."
4whom, May 07 2008

       [QED] makes a lot of valid points, to which I will concede, except one: note that I specifically mentioned "Satellites" filled with such bags. So a floating automated buoy of sorts, still open to the vacuum but mostly shielded from solar radiation, that could be activated when in proximity with the oncoming spacecraft. The satellite would then dock with the craft, unload its cargo, and be left there, perhaps to perform other astronomical tasks after it has deposited its payload, such as interferometry and stellar observation.
qt75rx1, May 07 2008

       //In the darkness of the bag, the food contained will soon reach within two or three degrees of absolute zero//   

       This is bad science. You'd have to insulate one side, while keeping the other exposed to some very empty region of space. Even in intergalactic space, the best you could do even theorectically would be the temperature of the microwave background, which is 3K.
ldischler, May 07 2008

       There are plenty of places in your solar system where you can keep stuff cold. We use Titan as our beer cooler.
8th of 7, May 07 2008

       Perhaps I misspoke in terms of numbers, [Idischler], but the basic principle of the idea still stands. Microbial life cannot survive, except for some hardy spores, at space temperatures. Perhaps its design could be modified to be a sun-aligned shield with a net to keep the food in.   

       [8th] -- "Your" solar system?
qt75rx1, May 08 2008


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