Astronauts may get to eat durians in space in the future
Recent media reports stated that Thailand's Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA) has revealed its plans to send durian into space to see if it would be a viable food option for astronauts.
It was learned that a lift-off is scheduled for July, where baked durians of the Monthong species, which will be packaged, sealed, and placed in a box, will be launched into space from Earth via a rocket.
Durian, a popular fruit in Southeast Asia, will remain in space for about five minutes until it returns to Earth, for researchers to study it for any textural changes.
According to Coconuts Bangkok, GISTDA also has plans to send off riceberry, a trendy rice variety from Thailand, on the same flight.
The project is part of a bigger research to develop food suitable for space exploration or related technology
"Our main goal is to eventually bring Thai food up to space to be consumed by astronauts," a spokesman for GISTDA told the BBC.
"For a start, we chose durian, which is the king of fruits in Thailand. We'd like to send [it] to the atmosphere at the same level that astronauts live and bring them back to analyse their texture for any changes," the spokesperson added.
If the mission is successful, it could pave the way for GISTDA to bring "other Thai food that is well known, like pad thai or mango sticky rice, up to space for more tests."
It was pointed out that durian will not be the first regional delicacy to be sent into space
Ten years ago, South Korea's first astronaut brought along kimchi in his expedition to space.
A New York Times report in 2008 revealed that South Korean scientists had spent million of dollars and years of research to successfully engineer kimchi and nine other Korean recipes fit for space travel.
Durians are notorious for their pungent scent. A university in Australia was evacuated because of the smell of a rotting durian that was mistaken as a gas leak: