February 23rd, 2012

Meals on Mars? New NASA Study Asks: What Space Food Tastes Best? TakePart

The space program has come a long way since the days of Apollo, and it turns out, astronaut cuisine has modernized right along with it. Yep, space food has moved beyond dehydrated ice cream and bright orange Tang crystals, with today’s astronauts feasting on chicken consommé, macaroni and cheese and shrimp cocktail.
But as NASA contemplates a mission to Mars, the agency wants to know how to prevent their space crew from getting bored with its meals during a potentially long mission. (Though no Mars trips are officially on the books, it’s estimated that a Mars mission would take about three years.)
How does NASA plan to find out what foods to serve up in space? Through a four-month experiment—a partnership between the space agency, Cornell University and the University of Hawaii-Manoa—that requires six participants to live in a simulated Mars base, eating a strictly enforced diet of space cuisine. The goal is to figure out what triggers menu fatigue—a standard complaint of astronauts.

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