Teen girls send edible invention into space
May 16th, 2011
12:45 AM ET
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John Zarrella is CNN's Miami correspondent. He has been covering space shuttle launches since 1984 and today, he'll be at the Kennedy Space Center as Commander Mark Kelly, husband of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, launches the Endeavour into space for the last time.

Science was not on the top of sixteen-year-old Mikayla Diesch’s list of careers. “I thought I was gonna be President about a year ago,” Mikayla told me as we stood about five miles from the Shuttle Endeavour sitting on the launch pad.

Quite a bit changed last year for Mikayla and her fourteen year old sister Shannon. They won a Conrad Foundation Spirit of Innovation competition that challenges students to come up with commercially viable solutions to real world problems. The girls’ award came in the nutrition category for developing a nutrition bar. It’s made of oats mainly and, “cranberries, apple pieces, cinnamon and a few nuts like almonds and cashews,” Mikayla says.

At first, Mikayla wasn’t too excited about the project. Sister Shannon talked her into it. “I was like, it sounds fun. It’s different,” Mikayla says, “But, I don’t know if I really want to do it. She’s like, ‘come on you can do it,’ and then we did it. Like, I decided ok I’m gonna do this and it was awesome.”
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3-2-1...Lunch! Fuel for watching the Space Shuttle
November 3rd, 2010
10:00 AM ET
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John Zarrella is CNN's Miami correspondent. He has been covering space shuttle launches since 1984. Thursday, the Discovery shuttle will make its last mission, sending a crew of six astronauts to the International Space Station.

It's going to be a mess. Just accept that now.

I'm talking about tomorrow's Space Shuttle launch. Be prepared for bumper to bumper traffic and packed hotels and restaurants. With only two, maybe three flights left, hundreds of thousands of people are expected to descend upon Cocoa Beach, Cape Canaveral and Titusville, Florida.

Here's some advice: take plenty of drinks, snacks and maybe sandwiches for the 3:30pm liftoff. You'll need to stake out your viewing spot hours ahead of time and plan on waiting several hours afterward to get out, or you will just sit in traffic.

But, if you're going to be hanging around the area for a few days, there's no reason to relegate yourself to bologna sandwiches. Whenever my team is at the Cape, we have a restaurant ritual and a few favorite haunts. If you promise not to take our table or at least let us join you, we'll share.
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Filed under: 100 Places to Eat • Florida • Outer Space • Travel


November 1st, 2010
10:15 AM ET
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John Zarrella is CNN's Miami correspondent. He has been covering space shuttle launches since 1984. This Wednesday, the Discovery shuttle will make its last mission, sending a crew of six astronauts to the International Space Station.

Shrimp cocktail, beef tips with mushrooms, mac and cheese, chocolate pudding cake and apple cider.

That's what shuttle Discovery Commander Steve Lindsey chose for his dinner meal on his second day in space.  Not bad. The astronauts eat pretty well up there.  They've got sausage links and eggs, chicken and mashed potatoes, apples and candy bars.

But there's a catch.  It's not as gourmet as you might think.  The apples and candy bars are natural but a lot of the food is freeze dried.

I was just at the Johnson Space Center in Houston and spent a little time at the Space Food Systems Laboratory. It was the first time I'd been there. Guys wearing gloves, hair nets and white suits were busy packaging containers of freeze dried strawberries.   The room, which we couldn't go inside, is nearly spotless.  The precautions are needed so nothing is contaminated.
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Filed under: Bite • Outer Space • Travel


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