Lost Chopstick

I like to eat with chopsticks, and I bring a pair on every flight. Like some prehensile extension of my fingers, they allow me to pull food out of its gooey pouch without getting sticky fingers. In weightlessness I can manipulate a huge chunk of food — maybe an agglomeration of ravioli that would normally fall apart under the influence of gravity. Here the pieces stay loosely connected, like a miniature collection of asteroid debris. These can be eaten as is, or wrapped between a couple of tortillas.
There are Velcro dots fixed to my chopsticks so they can be parked on the galley table and not float away. At least so I thought. I parked my chopsticks in the middle of dinner so I could fly to the cupola windows and take a picture of the Earth. When I came back, one of the chopsticks was gone. It had just floated off. Apparently I did not firmly engage the hook to the pile. My first instinct was to look down. This works on Earth, but not up here. I made a broad sweep of the surrounding volume. A small floating object is difficult to find in the camouflaging background of spacecraft clutter. My chopstick had simply vanished. Two days later, one of my crewmates found it stuck to a ventilator inlet grill.
Astronaut Don Pettit having fun with food

4 thoughts on “Lost Chopstick”

  1. I have the Nasa channel on in the background while I work, and I just found this blog a few days ago when they mentioned it. I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to give such a personal view of your experiences — and I can’t imagine just how much velcro you guys must have up there! Keep the great insights and photos coming — it’s that day-to-day stuff that doesn’t get the major news coverage, but will show us what our future might be like!

  2. You are so inspiring to all of us here on Earth! The kids at West Shore Junior Senior High School in Melbourne, Fla. admire you!

    How many years’ worth of peanut butter do you have aboard the Space Station and how do you keep everything fresh?

  3. I like eating with chopsticks too, and have LOTS of them.
    There’s actually a certain philosophy dealing with non-violence
    behind them [if I remember correctly], as well as the practical, cultural, and culinary aspects. Nice to know they can be used in
    a zero G environment.

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