People have been traveling in space since the 1960s, but food storage has not been solved to this day – even though astronauts have more than 250 types of dishes available, the technology for transporting food in space has not changed throughout this time. Fortunately, engineers from Purdue University, USA, came up with a rather interesting development – they created a refrigerator that can work both on Earth and in space. Thanks to this, food can be stored twice as long – usually, the shelf life of food in space is 3 years, and with a spacious refrigerator, this period increases to 5-6 years.
When developing, scientists took into account that astronauts need a device that can work in zero gravity and meets all the standard specifications for spaceships. For example, the developers had to create a refrigerator that works without using oil – in zero gravity, which is not surprising. This fluid does not flow as the mechanism needs. To correct this problem, an oil-free vapor compression freezing cycle was created – the refrigerator cools food by compressing steam, just like on Earth, but without using oil in the system.
And to test the refrigerator in real conditions, engineers at the beginning of this month conducted three experiments on board a special aircraft. He made flights, creating microgravity conditions, during which measurements of the operation of the refrigerator for space were carried out. NASA said that the research team had made significant progress at the moment, and the prototype has shown itself in low gravity conditions and on earth. Probably, after additional tests and improvements, this refrigerator may well be sent to the ISS for longer storage of food. Or even install it in ships that will be sent to conquer Mars.