Potato chips are a favorite snack food Earth side. It seems that currently they are not allowed in the ISS (anything with significant crumbs -- such as potato chips ... can't go.) and that chips bags will expand as the surrounding pressure decreases (you notice that your bag of potato chips seems to be about to explode). We also know that if a package is designed to hold moderate pressure it will not explode for the same reason the Space Shuttle tires don't explode. At the same time a bag of potato chips needs to be sealed so it can be opened by hand.

At some point there is going to be more than one place in space, and there will need to be shuttles moving all those chips around Google images 'potato chip delivery truck' Most of us are familiar with the trucks delivering chips, essentially they are big boxes that keep the chips contained, the driver stops at a store grabs some chips and takes them in.

What I am really wondering is if the potato chip delivery space truck will be pressurized. Does the driver need to dock at a truck sized air lock, or is he wearing a space suit and takes the chips in through a man sized air lock? He might be making deliveries on the Moon or micro gravity, but in any case where there is enough traffic he is probably going to be making deliveries like his Earth bound counter part, the goods go in the front door of the building.

Note: In this question, I am assuming multiple populated habitats without interconnecting pressure areas.

  • $\begingroup$ James, I read your question now three times and I gotta say I concur with close votes that it's unclear. Could you please edit to clarify what exactly you'd like us to answer? Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – TildalWave
    Oct 22, 2015 at 17:47
  • $\begingroup$ @TildalWave Probably one of those things just works better in your mind then it does in print. It can stay closed that is fine. $\endgroup$ Oct 22, 2015 at 18:10
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Only dried foods would survive a passage through vacuum without a lot of damage. Of course the food comes in pressurized! $\endgroup$ Oct 23, 2015 at 1:30
  • $\begingroup$ It sounds like you're asking if the potato chip bag is structurally strong enough to withstand the pressure difference between the roughly 1 atmosphere of pressure inside the bag and vacuum outside the bag. Is that correct? $\endgroup$
    – jvriesem
    Dec 16, 2018 at 17:31

1 Answer 1


The real problem with potato chips isn't the packaging so much as it is the crumbs. Crumbs in zero gravity are a very serious issue, and would get everywhere, the food that they take into space needs to not have many crumbs, thus food like chips is a very bad idea in zero gravity. I can't see having them in space, unless some kind of artificial gravity is created, or at a location where this is natural gravity, such as the Moon.

As to if the bag would explode, well, a standard pressurized bag would actually not explode, but would pop. See this video. If they thought it a problem due to lower air pressure, they would simply make specially packaged space potato chips, that are packaged in such a way that it would be safe for space.

I would forsee that all deliveries would be pressurized, because it is much easier to unload them as such.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ I foresee delivery of dehydrated frozen potatoes for preparation of chips/crisps in orbit. :P $\endgroup$ Oct 22, 2015 at 15:13
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I foresee digital downloads of chip files for manufacture of potato chips from organic matter grown in orbit. ;) $\endgroup$
    – called2voyage
    Oct 22, 2015 at 20:14
  • $\begingroup$ I also foresee a simple, rather large fan with a filter a'la vacuum cleaner bag, near the eating area, sucking all the loose crumbs in, enabling more normal food in space without gravity. $\endgroup$
    – SF.
    Oct 23, 2015 at 15:30
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ I foresee spacecraft filled with... here it goes... microchips. $\endgroup$
    – user
    Oct 25, 2015 at 13:43

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.