Saturday, December 6, 2014

Cows In Space

I opened the gate and called to the cows in the pasture. It was time for them to come in and eat lunch. Most of them stood up and took a few steps. Thinking they were on their way I proceeded to feed a group of calves that were in a nearby barn.

The cows, however, didn't move. They stood silently. Were they doing some kind of protest? Were they pondering which Christmas special to watch on tv? I noticed their ears and eyes pointed to the heavens and it was obvious what they were doing. Cows, as you know, have an excellent sense of smell and hearing. What they had to be doing was "sensing" one of NASA's new spaceships, Orion, circling the globe.  

The spaceship was unmanned for this trip, but one of the future goals of the new craft is a trip to Mars. Of course, when the astronauts are on board they will definitely need some milk. What are their options? As impractical as it is, the first choice is to take a real cow with them.

Monkeys and rats have made the trip so why not our bovine friends? While one little girl did take a baby calf into her house to snuggle with, a cow in space does bring its own issues. Cows need room to move, lots of food to eat, and let us not forget about waste. Then you have the issue with the milk. Raw milk for the astronauts? No. The last thing you need is a group of astronauts getting sick from an E. coli outbreak or having renal problems.  They would need to pasteurize the milk. More equipment and more work for them. We might not be ready for a cow in space.

As a kid I remember the astronauts drank Tang.

I also remember that it was the yuckiest thing I had ever drunk at the time and if that was what it took to become an astronaut then there was no point in me thinking about becoming one. Thanks but no thanks and pass the milk, please.

Due to it's perishable quality milk might not have an option for early astronauts, but today you definitely have more options for your dairy cravings. Ultra High Temperature pasteurizing allows milk to have a long shelf life. You can find conventional milk as well as organic milk on the shelf like this.

Coming soon nationwide is a product called Fairlife Milk which uses a new version of UHT and has a unique twist on milk's inherently good properties by increasing the protein and calcium while lowering the sugar content. Perhaps the biggest impact it will make is that it is lactose free making it a perfect choice for those with inherent lactose allergies. Does it taste delicious? I don't know, but I can't wait to try it.

Cows in space? Maybe not yet. Milk in space? You betcha! All systems are go!

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