As the much-anticipated manned Mission to the Red Planet draws closer, the North American Space Agency now focuses on an important aspect of the mission – dinner time. NASA just declared that its scientists are currently looking for a way to create nutritional energy bars for astronauts.
It may seem like a trivial matter, but NASA takes everything serious when it comes to the upcoming Mars mission. According to the agency’s latest statement, it would seem that they are still looking for a way to feed the astronauts during their deep space mission.
Using the current propulsion technology, a trip to the Red Planet should take about 6 to 8 months. During this time, the crew must be well fed in order to able to fulfill its duties. You would not think that this is an issue considering that ISS’s pantry contains over 200 varieties of food, but the Mars won’t have the luxury of riding a ship with such a high storage capacity.
More than likely, the crew will set out to the Red Planet flying an Orion shuttle. As the NASA engineers have anticipated, weight will be an issue. This means that the shuttle would not be capable of carrying the same load as one departing for the International Space Station since more weight equals more fuel.
Subsequently, this also means that the food the ship will be carrying must not exceed a certain weight. While the rehydratable food packs seem like an obvious solution, NASA is looking for a way to diversify the meal time selection.
For this purpose, NASA’s Advanced Food Technology Laboratory has developed special energy bars for the astronauts to enjoy at breakfast. These energy bars are nutritionally balanced, and they were designed as to occupy as little space as possible.
And to satisfy everyone’s taste buds, the food researchers working at the lab have designed a wide variety of flavors including barbecue nut and orange cranberry.
But energy bars alone won’t be enough to keep the astronauts in shape for the duration of this mission, and NASA’s looking for ways to cram in more food without taking the much-needed space.
At the moment, the new energy bars are being tested by astronauts. The team wanted to see how nutritious the bars really are and if the astronauts can eat the same thing each morning for the duration of a long deep space mission.
Image source: Wikipedia
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