What about a dinner served aboard a Mars bound space craft multi million miles away from Mother Earth? At one time this was an impossible thought, but Astronauts in space flying towards the red planet, today or tomorrow are going to need loads of food for their sustenance. As weight is a big issue in space travel, cooking a meal on the space craft is going to be an extraordinary test for the astronauts on this assignment.
There is going to be a special limitation on what and how much can be carried aboard a space shuttle. This is the challenge taken up by a panel supported by the Cornell University and the University of Hawaii’s at Manoa. They have to conjure up a plan on what the astrophysicists will get to munch on their 4 month long space mission to Mars. There was a whopping list of above 700 applicants anxious for the mission. Only 6 individuals out of this lot struck gold and were selected to participate in the food replication mission. A reserve crew of an additional 3 members also got lucky.
Kim Binsted, lead of the research team member claimed, “It was very difficult to narrow the pool down. We had about 150 highly qualified applicants, and pretty much everyone we interviewed would have done very well in the habitat. We ended up with a fantastic crew, including the reserve crew, who are ready to step in if someone on the prime crew has to leave the study for some reason.”
The mixed group of six crew members has space scientists, journalists, geologists, and biologists, belonging to Arizona, California, Puerto Rico, Pennsylvania, and Belgium. The group of members has to reside in an environment developed in a infertile lava field in Hawaii. The moment they step out of the enclosed protected domain they will have to don the space gear garb. They will also have to religiously undertake all the tasks as if they are on the Red planet itself.
The food–testing program has been named HI-SEAS after Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation. New food forms and better preparation strategies are being pondered over. The mission will test the menu requirements, and the physical and psychological need of endowing the space travelers with food for this extensive space travel activity away from the realms of the Earth.
It is feared that the astronauts who are away in space for an extended period of time go into “menu fatigue”. “Menu Fatigue“ is the state where the astronauts due to the long unending mission end up with meager ingestion and innumerable psychological difficulties. The HI-SEAS plans to create most favorable food plans for their long term deep-space travel.
Finally the astronauts can look forward to a gourmet delight in future. Space travel will now have the astronauts planning foodie delights of preference and the researchers pondering over palatability of the foods to be conjured up!