MIT Collective Interplanetary Dining in Space

A collective dining experience to spark greater engagement from astronauts toward their foods as well as each other during mealtime.

Accepted into MIT Media Lab’s open call for The Interplanetary Cookbook publication. View the complete submission pdf here.
Time Frame —
Spring 2020
4 weeks
Skills —
Interaction Design,
Print Design
Team —
Meijie Hu
Ian Shei
Supawat Vitoorapakorn
Space Dumpling Recipe
Drawing inspiration from soup dumplings (xiaolongbao) and dumplings, our space dumplings offer a diversity of customizable stuffings that can be prepared to suit any palette. The fresh preparation of ingredients allow for the layering of varying flavors and textures with every bite.

This highly engaging process of dumpling-making is supported by a line of ingredients that do not sacrifice taste or texture during space-travel preparation.
Space Dining Table
Our foldable table design is inspired by hotpot devices and the cuisine's encouragement of collective food cooking and preparation. The pot is built into the center of the table and is easily accessible to all. Compartments surrounding the circumference of the pot can store cooked and uncooked food as astronauts cook and fold dumplings.
Cooking Mechanism
As shown in the diagram, the cooking mechanism intends to combat microgravity to achieve uniform cooking.
At the international space station, every meal consists of a personal collection of disposable tin cans and plastic pouches. These strategically-prepared meals are not designed with sharing in mind.

What’s more, they often lack taste and texture; most foods are heavily processed before the flight for longevity and crumb-reduction. Even the most extravagant foods can still taste one-dimensional, especially if eaten out of a vacuum-sealed pouch.
Astronaut Chris Hadfield and Chef Traci Des Jardins' video of the making of a space burrito reveals what the food prep process looks like in space. A favorite of NASA's astronauts, tortillas are an amazing ingredient that offers self-assembly and customization of meals.
We examined foods from different cultures that would not only introduce dynamic flavors and textures, but also greatly engage astronauts in the food-making process.
Metrics of Success
In order to focus our design process, we outlined the specific metrics we wished to meet and prioritized them according to must, should and could.