Italian extra virgin olive oil goes into space, to season the meals of astronauts aboard the International Space Station: this was announced by the Italian Space Agency (ASI) on the occasion of International Olive Day.
Four selections of the highest quality will be included in the load of supplies that will accompany the European astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti who will leave in the spring on a new space mission.
The load includes a selection of 4 different selections of extra virgin olive oil that will act as 'ambassadors' of the 533 varieties of our country and will be included in the so-called bonus food by the astronaut of the European Space Agency (ESA), i.e. the specialties that each astronaut can choose to take with him to supplement the standard diet provided. The oils, distinct and labeled based on intensity and sensory profile, will be available to the crew to accompany a specific type of food: meat, fish, vegetables and one to enhance the most intense flavors. But the oils will also be the protagonists of an unprecedented experiment on the effects of staying in space on this important food.
The idea of bringing one of the treasures of the Italian diet into space stems from an agreement signed by ASI with the Council for research in agriculture and the analysis of the agricultural economy (Crea), with the collaboration of Coldiretti and Unaprol (the Consortium Olivicolo Italiano), aims to underline the importance of the Italian agri-food heritage, enhance and raise awareness of a strategic national asset for the country's exports, as well as promote the principles of proper nutrition.
"The extra virgin olive oils selected for the project - reads an ASI note - are united by a high content of natural antioxidants, which are essential for those who, like astronauts, are subjected to conditions of intense psycho-physical stress".