As NASA’s Advanced Food Technology Project redesigns meals for future astronauts so that they are fresh, it is also trying to figure out smarter packaging that can perform multiple functions. There are plenty of predecessors to build off upon as the team decides what’s next—io9 (courtesy of Nerdcore) brings us a retrospective of the packaging from the program’s history, which dates back to the 1960s.

The project is seeking to “create better packaging to reduce spoilage and nutrition loss, and it’s also looking into how food might actually be prepared on manned exploration missions.”

In order to develop the right packaging, AFTP conducted “an evaluation of package sealing conditions, seal width, vacuum flush procedures, and package configurations was conducted.” The ultimate goal is to ensure that the food will maintain “low mass, high quality, and long shelf life.”

[via io9]