Students’ mackerel picked as ‘Japanese Space Food’

  • Education
  • Space & Aeronautics

Students’ mackerel picked as ‘Japanese Space Food’

Canned mackerel in soy sauce developed by high school students in Obama, Fukui Prefecture, has been chosen as a “Japanese Space Food” by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

On Monday, four second-year students of Fukui prefectural Wakasa High School’s marine science course were awarded a certificate as developers of the JAXA-approved space food.

The canned food will be taken to the International Space Station as early as late next year, when Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi is scheduled to be aboard the ISS.

The high school began developing space foods 12 years ago with the aim of improving the production of canned mackerel and showing off mackerel as a local specialty.

A total of 30 students at Wakasa High School worked on the product, making a series of improvements including using kuzuko starch to make the food stickier so that moisture would not spill onto equipment, and making the flavor stronger to account for the fact that one’s taste buds tend to dull in outer space.

As a result, Wakasa became the first high school to pass JAXA’s space food examination. Previously, all 32 food items approved as Japanese Space Food were made by food companies.

After the award ceremony at the high school, Koichi Wakata, 55, a director of JAXA and astronaut, tried the canned mackerel in soy sauce.

“This taste is mild and it’s easy to eat,” he said in appreciation.

Meanwhile, Akari Tobinaga, 17, a second-year student at the high school, was elated.

“All our hard work to take over the research of senior students has paid off,” she said.Speech