When South Korea launches its first astronaut in April, Ko San will take along the spicy flavor of his homeland to the bleak interstellar void. He will take off for the International Space Station with a supply of the Korean delicacy kimchi, specially engineered for consumption by astronauts.
To make kimchi, cabbage is fermented with red peppers and lots of ginger and garlic. But the fermentation process involves lactic acid bacteria — and space food must be sterile to protect astronauts' health. So scientists at Korea's Atomic Energy Research Institute developed a special germ-free kimchi by zapping it with radiation.
According to the Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo, taste-testers say the space kimchi has "zest" and makes them feel almost as good as the terrestrial kind.