Radio

Sundays 8pm to 11pm on Radio 2

COMING UP: A Very Strombo Christmas Special

COMING UP: A Very Strombo Christmas Special

Get ready for an advent calendar of Strombo performances over the next four days, leading up to our festive special on Sunday.

Past Shows

 

 

Technology
In Space, No One Can Hear You Chew: NASA Funds Dehydrated Cooking Research For Possible Mars Mission
November 20, 2012
submit to reddit

nasa-food-classes.jpg

What does a mission to Mars need to succeed?

A high-powered spacecraft, obviously. Well-trained astronauts in top physical condition.

And of course, cooking classes.

nasa-food-bowls.jpg

Wait, what? Well, it may not seem quite as obvious as the other elements of a long mission to space, but food and nutrition are central to the success of any attempt to get human beings to the red planet.

At the HI-SEAS lab in Hawaii, NASA is funding research into making dehydrated food more palatable and satisfying for people on multi-year space missions.

nasa-food-hi-seas.jpg
The HI-SEAS lab is under construction in Hawaii, 8,500 feet above sea level. Looks Martian, doesn't it?

Study participants will eat nothing but dehydrated food for four months. Half the time, they'll just mix up dehydrated ready-to-eat meals, like those that campers use. But for the other meals, they'll be offered raw, dehydrated materials, and learn to cook with them to create their own meals.

Food is important on longer missions: studies have found that in microgravity, the degenerative effects of malnutrition can be heightened, so if people aren't eating enough, it could cause more damage than it would on Earth.

nasa-food-various.jpg

One reason people on a mission to Mars might stop eating enough? Boredom.

"When you eat the same thing over and over again, you get bored by it, [you get] full sooner, and end up eating less," associate professor Jean Hunter told Fast Company. "For astronauts who might be somewhere far away from home where there's not much variety in their lives, getting bored with the food can be really serious."

Not the most glamorous vision of space travel. But the research should help astronauts get creative in preparing their own food.

For instance: study participants will learn how to make egg sushi out of dehydrated egg, rice, and seaweed, as well as chocolate pudding from cocoa powder, dehydrated milk, sugar, cornstarch and fat. The goal is to develop a recipe book that astronauts can use well into the future.

nasa-food-sushi.jpg

The researchers won't just work on recipes internally. They're also going to open a web portal where "dehydrated food experts" will be able to send in their own ideas. And who might those people be?

"We expect to hear from the preppers, the people who think the end of the world is coming, the bomb is going to drop, or the virus is on the way," Hunter says. "There's a whole culture, mostly in the West, where people are building months of food, water and ammunition."

So yes: NASA is planning to ask conspiracy theorists and bunker dwellers to help their astronauts make dinner.

Out of this world.

Related:

NASA's New Mega-Rocket To Mars

Mars500 Mission Comes Home

Getting To Mars In 2023? Great Reality Show Idea

Comments

Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.