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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Developing New Foods for a Mars Mission

Credit: Kraft Foods Inc has done a story on the research that still needs to be done to develop new foods for a 2-3 year mission away from Earth.

While a colony on Mars can support itself with agricultural development and even a sort of interplanetary meat farm, a mission to build a small base will need a more nonperishable solution. In any case, the six-month transit will require foods brought from home.

Sudhir Sastry, food engineering professor at Ohio State University has a solution. "Once the food is used, the package becomes a disposal problem. NASA documents detail plans to sterilize packaging materials until they can be jettisoned. However, this still means that used packaging has to be stored for some time, because jettison activity cannot be done frequently." He proposes that, after food is cooked by passing electrodes through the bag in which it is stored, the bag can be used to contain the astronauts' waste products. Highlighting today's Moon-first, Mars-later trend, Michele Perchonok of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute said she expected that testing of new food technologies could take place on the Moon. "We will not be going to Mars until 2035, so we will begin by testing within the food group first, then integrate with some of the other advanced-life-support teams, such as air, water or solid waste."

(More info:, Mars Meat)

- posted by Alex @ 10:16 EST