# Can food be preserved by exposure to space?

Would it be possible to preserve food by wrapping them in sturdy packaging (to preserve moisture and block micrometeors) and then tossing it out of the airlock so we no longer need refrigeration space?

Since we are keeping our food inside the cabin instead of outside for space missions, there must be some complication with leaving a head of cabbage in Saran wrap outside of the airlock, right?

• Space isn't necessarily cold, direct sunlight makes things extremely hot, which is why the ISS needs cooling and not heating. – GdD Sep 5 '18 at 13:06
• Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – called2voyage Sep 5 '18 at 15:53
• Do you have a source for the assumption that refrigeration is used to preserve food in space? – Uwe Sep 6 '18 at 20:47

Can food be preserved in space?

Technically yes, since the general objective of food preservation is to prevent biological spoilage, which certainly happens in the cold vacuum of space. While there are many microbes that can survive in space there are no known microbes that can thrive(reproduce/multiply) in freezing 0 pressure conditions (it's like a freezer on steroids).

However, it would be exposed to a lot more direct radiation which if then brought back in for consumption could have a direct path into the body. If it is exposed to sunlight it will literally cook and outgas water mostly but also greatly accelerate the breakdown of various organic compounds thus reducing its nutritional value. That is if the container they are in doesn't explode first.

There is also the inconvenience (and efficiency loss [power & atmosphere]) of having to open the airlock every time someone wants a snack.

Edit: Since for some reason this very logical flow needs backing up:

• Heh... For the line having to open the airlock every time someone wants a snack, I pictured a snickers commercial, "Hungry? Grab a Snicke-- WAIT NO DON'T OPEN THA--" connection lost – Magic Octopus Urn Sep 5 '18 at 17:40