Thailand’s space research agency has just announced plans to send durian to space by July, as part of a project to produce Thai food suitable for future space travel.
Durian, widely recognized as the world’s smelliest fruit, could one day be wafting its pungent odors through the space station. Thailand’s space research agency wants to send the divisive fruit into space by July, not to banish its notorious smell, but to test its viability as food for astronauts.
Baked durians have already been packaged and are ready for lift off, Ammarin Pimnoo of the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA) told Bangkok-based news site Coconuts.
The agency plans to launch the durian from Earth with the help of a U.S. rocket company.
The packages will initially stay in space for just five minutes before coming back to the blue planet for an examination of any textural changes, according to the BBC. That information will be used to develop Thai food suitable for space.
Thailand is not yet in the group of nations to have been to space, but they are making sure the catering is in place for future trips.
“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 analyze their texture for any changes.”
The spokesman said that if the project worked, the agency could “bring other Thai food that is well known, like pad Thai or mango sticky rice, up to space for more tests”.
Durian is well-loved in Thailand but are also found in countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam.
Its pungent smell is notoriously powerful – so much so that it is often banned from public transport and other enclosed spaces.
The durian isn’t the first regional delicacy to be sent into space. In 2008, a South Korean astronaut was sent into space along with kimchi, a fermented homemade cabbage dish that is widely seen as the national dish.