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Future Astronauts May Survive On Eating Silkworms

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the still-better-than-tang dept.

Space 384

sciencehabit writes "Science reports that silkworms may be an ideal food source for future space missions. They breed quickly, require little space and water, and generate smaller amounts of excrement than poultry or fish. They also contain twice as many essential amino acids as pork does and four times as much as eggs and milk. Even the insect's inedible silk, which makes up 50% of the weight of the dry cocoon, could provide nutrients: The material can be rendered edible through chemical processing and can be mixed with fruit juice, sugar, and food coloring to produce jam."

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Food for thought (5, Insightful)

jerep (794296) | more than 5 years ago | (#26449621)

Now we just have to solve this space radiation issue and how to shield astronauts from it.

ATTN: SWITCHEURS! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26449671)

If you don't know what GPL and GNU are for, GTFO.
If you think Firefox is a decent GNU/Linux application, GTFO.
If you're still looking for the Control Panel, GTFO.
If you don't know Tux from SCO, GTFO.

Bandwagon jumpers are not welcome among real GNU/Linux users [flickr.com] . Keep your filthy Windows fingers to yourself.

Attention Windows Clickarounds (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26449869)

Yeah I'm talking to you. The wannabe computer programmer who thinks they are good at computers because they can click around the computer enough times and find the reboot button and 'fix' an inherently flawed windows system. You think you're cool because you can pirate photoshop but not know anything about it, get Microsoft Office for free but have the literacy of a 1st grader when writing a paper, and get a copy of Norton Anti-virus because your inherently flawed system is useless without Administrative privileges. Get a clue, you are not smart, you are just a corporate sheep for a company that will bury you if you ever tried to write any software that did anything remotely useful. You are a clickaround and all you know is your ugly gray existence that is Windows.

Want the source code to windows vista?

head -n 1000000 /dev/random > Windows.com

Re:Food for thought (0)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#26449707)

Huh? Already worked out!? Astronauts have already been to space, I don't know if you've received the memo..

Re:Food for thought (3, Interesting)

jerep (794296) | more than 5 years ago | (#26449769)

From what I know they're merely aware of the problem and haven't fully solved it, unless I'm really mistaken there's no way for current spacesuits to completely shield astronauts from radiation outside the earth's magnetic field.

Re:Food for thought (5, Funny)

sdpuppy (898535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26449879)

Hmmm, given the article's topic, now I wonder if they ever tested the radiation shielding properties of silk.

Hey if that works, they've got the solution to space travel all wrapped up!

Re:Food for thought (5, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450079)

If anything they could use it to spin some lingerie for the female astronauts to help with those lonely space nights.

Re:Food for thought (1)

rjhubs (929158) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450401)

i'm not sure why this was modded down.. its not post of the century.. but it does make a valid point.. alas i used all my mod points yesterday though

Re:Food for thought (0)

Hojima (1228978) | more than 5 years ago | (#26449773)

This is obviously long-term, as the food problem for short-term missions has already been solved (bring snacks). Radiation levels are reduced, but still much higher in space. I honestly don't know why people are looking at colonizing space before they do the ocean.

Re:Food for thought (2, Insightful)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#26449989)

Cause, you can't really have a first man to walk on the bottom of the ocean, I mean, pretty much any beach goer does that. Whereas you can have a first man to walk on the Moon/Mars/an asteroid. My point is, regardless of the scientific interest, space is just more sensational. The depths of the ocean are just creepy.

Re:Food for thought (4, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450095)

The depths of the ocean are just creepy.

Wow, man. That's deep!

Re:Food for thought (2, Insightful)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450261)

Living in the ocean wont save us from the earth being consumed by nuclear waste / aliens / zombies / etc

Also, the ocean is already inhabited.

Re:Food for thought (1)

KovaaK (1347019) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450451)

Also, the ocean is already inhabited.

Sorry, but when has that stopped humans from going anywhere to live? Granted, there are other issues with living in the ocean...

Re:Food for thought (5, Insightful)

compro01 (777531) | more than 5 years ago | (#26449949)

In space, yes. Outside the earth's magnetosphere, no. Even out on the moon, the magnetosphere still protects them from much of the nastiness (solar wind, cosmic rays, etc.), but if we're gonna go to Mars or wherever, we'll need to bring our own protection.

Re:Food for thought (1)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450337)

Huh? Already worked out!? Astronauts have already been to space, I don't know if you've received the memo..

I haven't received any memo. Tell us how they have solved the radiation problem.

gross (4, Funny)

yincrash (854885) | more than 5 years ago | (#26449633)

so what do they taste like??
can we make them taste like bacon?

Re:gross (1)

yincrash (854885) | more than 5 years ago | (#26449709)

Liu's team calculates that given a relatively normal diet with a three-to-one ratio of plant to animal protein, each astronaut would need to consume 170 silkworm pupae and cocoons a day to fulfill their animal protein needs.

interested in a bowl full of bugs?

Re:gross (5, Funny)

MikeDirnt69 (1105185) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450165)

Hakuna Matata!

Re:gross (2)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450187)

The article reminds me of Gagh...

http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/Gagh [memory-alpha.org]

The Klingon bowl o' worms always sounded like a pretty interesting meal to me.

Re:gross (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26450457)

For the first time, in as long as I can remember, my desire to be an astronaut has just faded a little.

Re:gross (5, Funny)

astrodoom (1396409) | more than 5 years ago | (#26449739)

With enough butter, anything can taste okay. The best part is their texture though. Nice and silky.

Re:gross (5, Informative)

Bobartig (61456) | more than 5 years ago | (#26449779)

They taste kind of like a very musty bean, but they have the typical cooked larva mouthfeel to them, a slightly taught exterior that 'pops' when you bite into them, and a soft creamy interior.

I'm not just talking shit either. Silk worms are a very common street vendor food in Korea, and I tried some the last time I was there. I'd seen them for decades, but I'd chickened out when I saw them in my earlier years.

If I was in some sort of survival environment, like the harsh vacuum of space, I wouldn't mind eating silk worms, but on a regular basis, I'm not too fond of them.

Re:gross (4, Interesting)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450053)

How are they served in Korea? Sounds like you ate them whole... cooked or raw? Can you get them fried? (yes I'm from the south). If they taste like beans can you grind them up into a hummus or bean dip? Refried worms, mmmm.

Re:gross (5, Informative)

Zordak (123132) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450091)

I think musty bean is being generous. I tried one, and it just tasted like dirt. Korea has some great dishes, but bbeon-dae-gi isn't one of them.

Re:gross (3, Interesting)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450151)

If you have a Korean market near you, you can easily find cans of silkworm pupas in some sort of paste/sauce. My mom used to get them (she's Korean) until she realized what it was she was buying/eating.

Re:gross (5, Insightful)

nickdwaters (1452675) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450159)

Space travel is extreme backpacking! If you've ever backpacked, you don't think twice about eating food you wouldn't normally eat at home. There are various gateway foods you can eat, such as sushi and in particular uni (sea urchin testes...no shit...nasty), which will make the consumption of silk worms seem like dessert. Hunger is a powerful motivator.

Re:gross (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26450323)

Last time I was there I had some great meat balls. They really were the dog's bollocks.

Re:gross (2, Interesting)

amasiancrasian (1132031) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450327)

It's actually extremely nutritious. Chinese people sell these snacks all over the place.

Re:gross (0)

CODiNE (27417) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450571)

a slightly taught exterior that 'pops' when you bite into them

Sounds like a lot of people online. Their taut seemingly educated veneer quickly explodes into a flamewar when their ideas are questioned.

Re:gross (5, Informative)

Beat The Odds (1109173) | more than 5 years ago | (#26449813)

can we make them taste like bacon?

Yes... just wrap them in bacon...

Re:gross (3, Funny)

famebait (450028) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450087)

PIGS!
IN!
SPAAAaaaAAAaaaAAAaaaACE!

If they taste like they smell...... (5, Funny)

MjDelves (811950) | more than 5 years ago | (#26449999)

so what do they taste like?? can we make them taste like bacon?

Last year I was in Korea where the streets are lined with vendors frying up silkworm pupae on the street as an, *ahem*, delicacy. The smell wafting down the road can only be described as a cross between death and pus. I would eat my fellow astronauts over silkworms.

Re:gross (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26450005)

Yes, here is the recipe:

  - Take fresh (or not so fresh) worms
  - Garnish with whatever you like (like eggs)
  - before eating, replace worms with bacon

Re:gross (1)

xouumalperxe (815707) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450253)

If you close your eyes, it almost feels like you're eating runny eggs

Cutlery! (3, Informative)

mrRay720 (874710) | more than 5 years ago | (#26449637)

If you can find a way to properly polymerise their silk, you could even make plastic knives and forks (or better, a spork) out of their silk to eat them with.

Breed larger silkworks and you could even use them to make the plates to eat them from! BONUS!

Re:Cutlery! (5, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26449711)

Ah the Spork. With spokes to short to grab anything, however their unique shape prevents it from pickup liquid well either.

Re:Cutlery! (0)

cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) | more than 5 years ago | (#26449757)

If it's Mac the Knife, what should we named the Spork? Wally the Spork? Mortimer the Spork?

Spnife (5, Funny)

Nerdposeur (910128) | more than 5 years ago | (#26449985)

Even better is the Spnife: round enough to hold soup, but sharp enough to slice your mouth.

Re:Cutlery! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26450245)

unique shape prevents it from pickup liquid well

-1 horrendous grammar

Even if you're not a native English speaker...you got prevent->from correct, but not "picking up"?

Re:Cutlery! (2, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450101)

If you can find a way to properly polymerise their silk

With that and some way of growing a plant that can use meteorites as nutrients and that can feed silkworms:

- Astronaut grows plants on ship.
- Astronaut mines meteorite for plant nutrients.
- Silkworm eats plants
- Astronauts eats silkworm.
- Astronaut uses polymerised silk to build Death Star.

The death of a myth (4, Funny)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#26449651)

They started drinking their own pee, and now they're gonna eat silkworms? No wonder why kids don't dream of becoming astronauts anymore, this thing is more awful than Survivor!

Re:The death of a myth (4, Insightful)

db32 (862117) | more than 5 years ago | (#26449939)

I dunno...young kids think pee drinking and worm eating is funny and often do strange things of that nature. What killed it for me was "Oh wow, Astronaut Ice Cream!" *munch* *munch* "This is disgusting semiflavored chalk! To hell with this nonsense."

It doesn't help that the previous generation had Apollo 11 and that "one small step" thing as a huge success. Then they had Apollo 13 and "Houston we've had a problem" that while missing the moon turned into a huge survival story success. My generation has had the Challenger and Columbia *kaboom* everyone dead stories. Now...building the Mir space station was a big story when I was a little kid. I remember our science teacher had us save our little milk carton things from lunch until we could build a huge one to hang up. Of course that one ended in a publicity stunt with Taco Bell promising free tacos if Mir hit some giant floating target in the ocean.

The previous generation got all the really cool and amazing space stories. My generation has gotten a few monumental failures, some publicity stunts, and space robots (which are pretty cool, but not a whole lot of that man to the moon excitement stuff).

Re:The death of a myth (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450463)

Sadly the space race died along with Sergei Korolev in 1966 oh it took a few years to grind down but definitely the point the Russians stopped being so innovative. Basically most of the kit they use today hasn't changed since he designed it.

Hey (5, Funny)

IceCreamGuy (904648) | more than 5 years ago | (#26449655)

"What's for dinner tonight, Dave?"
"Oh, I don't know, Frank, how about... MORE FU(#1NG WORMS!?"
"Just calm down and pass the worm jam."

Unintentional entomophagy (3, Interesting)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450133)

Good one.

Just wanna point out that we had always been eating insect parts [wikipedia.org] in jams, canned fruits, and other products, without being aware.

That said ... EEEEWWWW!! Over my dead body!

Mmm... (0)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 5 years ago | (#26449691)

Silkworms. Aaaaggghhh...

oblig (4, Funny)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 5 years ago | (#26449699)

Fear Factor: Astronaut Edition

I'm Cold (0)

m0s3m8n (1335861) | more than 5 years ago | (#26449717)

Yuri, I'm cold, can you go crap me out a nice sweater?

Yes, but... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26449727)

They ... generate smaller amounts of excrement than poultry or fish.

1) I, for one, welcome our tiny new poultry- and fish- generating overlords.
2) Will it blend?

Wow, great timing! (3, Interesting)

phillymjs (234426) | more than 5 years ago | (#26449745)

Now Hershey's can spin this nasty incident [consumerist.com] as test marketing of their new Space Brownies!

~Philly

Re:Wow, great timing! (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#26449865)

Where's the "+1, Disgusting" mod?

Why silkworms when there is ... (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 5 years ago | (#26449797)

Why bother with silkworms and such stupid things, when soilent green is availble, eh?

Re:Why silkworms when there is ... (2, Funny)

A12m0v (1315511) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450255)

SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE

Sexy Lingerie! (1)

bigattichouse (527527) | more than 5 years ago | (#26449827)

And if you get really bored in your new space habitat, you can make sexy underwear to keep your colony's population rising. :)

Re:Sexy Lingerie! (2, Funny)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450153)

And if you get really bored in your new space habitat, you can make sexy underwear to keep your colony's population rising. :)

It doesn't matter how much silk underwear you use, you still won't reproduce with a silkworm.

"Grubs, again! [grumble, grumble]" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26449835)

"Oh, they are very tasty, tender baby vorms cooked in holy corn oil, that is oil from the corns of holy men, or as it is known your country, poly-unsaturated ghee."

Excerpts from TFA (1)

troll8901 (1397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#26449859)

Excerpts from TFA.

TFA:

"Each astronaut would need to consume 170 silkworm pupae and cocoons a day to fulfill their animal protein needs."

Article [wikipedia.org] :

The silkworm is the larva or caterpillar of Bombyx mori, the domesticated silkmoth. ... In Korea they are boiled and seasoned to make a popular snack food known as beondegi. In China street vendors sell roasted silkworm pupae.

Asians eat these already (3, Informative)

Bobartig (61456) | more than 5 years ago | (#26449873)

Seen 'em all over the place in Korea from street carts. They always have this particular insect trifecta: Silk Worms, Crickets, and freshwater Snails:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beondegi [wikipedia.org]

Re:Asians eat these already (1)

Kent Recal (714863) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450213)

Asiatronouts.

Tang (1)

camg188 (932324) | more than 5 years ago | (#26449907)

Real astronauts drink Tang.

Wrong (2, Funny)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 5 years ago | (#26449945)

Real astronauts eat'tang.

Food Coloring? (4, Insightful)

fractalVisionz (989785) | more than 5 years ago | (#26449921)

The material can be rendered edible through chemical processing and can be mixed with fruit juice, sugar, and food coloring to produce jam.

Do we really need to waste precious cargo space and weight to bring up food coloring? I suppose astronauts might want green or purple catchup too.

Want to see someone trying it? (3, Interesting)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 5 years ago | (#26449931)

Benchilada eats silkworm pupae [youtube.com] live on video, So You Don't Have To [youtube.com] . (not mentioned in the video is the fact that his friend, helping him, started throwing up convulsively soon after they finished filming the episode.)

Must be in the NASA manual... (4, Funny)

Cheerio Boy (82178) | more than 5 years ago | (#26449947)

Astronaut 1, "But where in my contact does it say that I have to eat the same food for breakfast everyday for three years?"

Astronaut 2,"Paragraph 47, subsection 19, cause 9a. You can find it in the index under S.U.A.E.I."

Astronaut 1,"S.U.A.E.I.?"

Astronaut 2,"Shut up and eat it."


Apologies to Babylon 5.

The mass still has to come from somewhere (5, Insightful)

nasor (690345) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450007)

The big issue with space missions in mass. Silk worms aren't going to magically create silk worm meat (or whatever you call it) from nothing - for ever 1 kg of silk worm that you grow to eat, you will have to bring along at least 1 kg of silkworm food. So why not just bring human-edible food instead of silk worm food?

Re:The mass still has to come from somewhere (1)

martas (1439879) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450249)

There must be some reason why they're proposing this. I'm guessing they know about conservation of mass. Maybe the astronauts need (or want) fresh food?

Re:The mass still has to come from somewhere (5, Informative)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450267)

Several points:

1) The article states that Silkworms seem to be the most compact form of Human-edible food. 1kg of Silkworm Meat will give you far more nutrients and proteins than 1kg of Chicken meat.

2) For a long-term space mission, (we're talking at -least- decades from now) you would need a renewable food source that ultimately converts solar energy into consumable chemical energy, since Humans can't eat sunlight. So futuristic Arcology-like spaceships might have greenhouses to harness solar energy, and astronauts could eat grown food. However, even Vegans need vitamin supplements and the article states that for protein and nutrient purposes, Silkworms make a great compact, efficient, renewable food source.

Re:The mass still has to come from somewhere (1)

skiingyac (262641) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450271)

for ever 1 kg of silk worm that you grow to eat, you will have to bring along at least 1 kg of silkworm food

I think the silkworms get "reprocessed" into silkworm food.

Re:The mass still has to come from somewhere (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450277)

Meat goes bad.
Vegetables rehydrate better, also they are easier to grow, using sun energy.

Beans in space for protein just seems like a bad idea to me. Also I think it takes the correct type of person to be a full vegetarian, I tried once it was pure torture. For others it was quite easy, and for others somewhere in the middle, kinda like a standard deviation curve you know. I think most people need some meat for their body to function properly, granted Americans eat to much meat, but we need some for a healthy diet. Vegetarian equivalents work for some body types, but not others.

Re:The mass still has to come from somewhere (1)

Celarnor (835542) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450289)

From TFA:

To survive for years in space, astronauts may need to bring along miniature ecosystems that provide necessities such as oxygen and food. Past research into what animal protein astronauts might live on has assessed poultry, fish, and even sea urchin larvae. All of these animals have drawbacks. Poultry needs a large amount of food and space, which is typically limited on expeditions, and it produces a lot of excrement. Fish and other aquatic life are very sensitive to water conditions, disturbances in which could delay spawning, hatching, and development.
Enter silkworms.

They're not talking about just carrying silkworms. They're talking about creating miniature ecosystems containing them.

Re:The mass still has to come from somewhere (2, Informative)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450301)

More like 10kg of food. (Figure I just plucked out of the air)
Not all the food will be converted to biomass. Much will be wasted on metabolic processes.

Re:The mass still has to come from somewhere (1)

Explodicle (818405) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450309)

The focus of this research is on long-term missions, where the silkworms would be part of a small ecosystem. Eating rations every day isn't as sustainable.

Re:The mass still has to come from somewhere (1)

mapsjanhere (1130359) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450389)

The real worry is, under the influence of long term exposure to space radiation, the silk worms might show some interesting mutations. Like football size eggs, and an direct, so inverse, correlation between the number of silk worms and the number of crew members...

Re:The mass still has to come from somewhere (3, Interesting)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450479)

So why not just bring human-edible food instead of silk worm food?

"Human-edible food" is like this simple loop that most people here should understand:

---> for (int x=100; x--; x>0)

After the function ends, the astronaunts die. I think I've read that astronauts "consume" 10kg of materials (air,water,food) per day so that it would cost 300kg to support somebody for a month if nothing ever got recycled. What space colonists need is a simple food-chain like this:

----> while (1) { plants(Sun, Fertiziler); silkworm(Plants); humans(Silkworm); }

In this way, you can recycle the processed waste from the silkworm and the humans (i.e. the "Fertilizer") and combine that with available Sunlight to generate a continuous cycle of food. And when "not dying" is the goal, it really won't matter how it tastes.

Re:The mass still has to come from somewhere (1)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450551)

The big issue with space missions in mass. Silk worms aren't going to magically create silk worm meat (or whatever you call it) from nothing - for ever 1 kg of silk worm that you grow to eat, you will have to bring along at least 1 kg of silkworm food. So why not just bring human-edible food instead of silk worm food?

Real American(TM) astronauts must eat meat to survive. If their alternative to the horrors of vegetarianism is eating larvae of the Bombyx mori [wikipedia.org] , so be it; I support their right to choose. Bon Apetit!

It's Highly Addictive! (1)

butterflysrage (1066514) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450029)

SLURM! (SiLk wURM)

or go vegetarian? (3, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450065)

Given that it costs more to raise an animal on vegetable feed than you gain by eating it, why not just eat the food that they're feeding the silkworms ?

Re:or go vegetarian? (2, Interesting)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450419)

Most of silkworms feed exclusively on white mulberry leaves. They often refuse to eat anything else. And humans cannot digest mulberry leaves...

Weaving (1)

Arivia (783328) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450073)

So the next generation of astronauts will be able to weave their own Vera Wang spacesuits? Sign me up!

China is all set for their space program then! (3, Funny)

Cthefuture (665326) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450085)

This should be great for their fledgling space program and will prove they're committed to a peaceful future. They have vast quantities of old Silkworms [wikipedia.org] laying around ready to be made into food. Gives a whole new meaning to the term explosive diarrhea though.

"Make dinner, not war" is what I always say.

From TFA: (2, Funny)

A. B3ttik (1344591) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450089)

...each astronaut would need to consume 170 silkworm pupae and cocoons a day to fulfill their animal protein needs. That number might be difficult to raise on a cramped spaceship but could be more feasible than raising an equivalent number of chickens.

I guess I took it for granted that 170 silkworms would be easier to raise than 170 chickens.

spider people (1)

fragbait (209346) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450097)

I can see the B movie now....

A group of humans heads off to some far off planet out of our solar system. Earth loses contact. Hundreds of years later we finally head out to the planet only to find spider people who think we are their gods.

Perhaps those spider people are those from Verner Vinge's A Deepness In The Sky.

+fragbait

The song (2, Funny)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450113)

Nobody likes me
Everybody hates me
Going into space to eat worms!

Despite our "western" aversion to such things... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26450129)

...I'm fairly confident that insects are going to become a staple food source here in the next few decades. We need only break out a calculator and read a few books on agriculture to understand that it's much more cost effective to raise mealworms on grain than it is cattle. The return on grain-to-protein from mealworms vs. cattle is staggering. I've seen data that suggests as much as 5-to-1.

I've seen individuals take and grind mealworms up into patties with various spices. They make delicious burgers. There are many other options with insects. Stir frys, soups, etc. The best part of all is that ANYONE can raise them in a clean, sterile environment for very little in the way of captial.

With the economy in the state that it's in, I wouldn't be surprised if some enterprising young businessperson doesn't try to get a company off the ground here in the US in the next couple of years to produce insects en masse for American consumption.

Trust me, naysayers, insects are delicious. You just need to get over your media-engrained, cultural and psychological bias.

Re:Despite our "western" aversion to such things.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26450247)

it's much more cost effective to raise mealworms on grain than cattle.

Simple solution: eat the cattle, rather than feeding them to the mealworms.

Re:Despite our "western" aversion to such things.. (1)

enharmonix (988983) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450317)

ANYONE can raise them in a clean, sterile environment for very little in the way of captial

I dunno. To me, "clean, sterile environment" means "no bugs."

Re:Despite our "western" aversion to such things.. (1)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450445)

I'll happily (well maybe not at first...) eat insects ground up and made into something that tastes good. I just dont want to much them raw, the same way I dont want to run into a field and take a bite out the backside of that cow over there...

Wow (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450233)

The romance of space travel just went down in flames.

Damn (1)

slackmaster2000 (820067) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450331)

Scratch astronaut off my list of things I want to be when I grow up. That leaves only cowboy or truck driver.

A happy astronaut is a well feed one (1)

thepacketmaster (574632) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450341)

I'm not doing any Mars excursion after filling up on a big bowl of silkworms. Stop cheaping out, put a freeze unit in the space ship and gimme a few cow carcasses.

Bah Beardie food! (2, Interesting)

Coraon (1080675) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450351)

My bearded dragon eats these things...we even have a small colony of silks that we raise. Mulberry (which is what you feed them) is actually kinda hard to get some seasons though it does come in a green brick mulch form, I personally wouldn't want to eat silks, as I've seen the beardie eat them live and its damn right icky. Personally I'd rather eat tofu...

Klingon food anyone? (2)

Alinabi (464689) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450365)

Are these human or klingon astronauts we are talking about?

These things stink! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26450373)

Anybody that's walked past a bondegi cart in South Korea knows this won't work - the astronauts would open an airlock just to get away from the rancid stench of these things. They are seriously nasty smelling!
But if you really want to try them, you can sometimes find them in a can in Korean markets in the US.

Sandwiches (1)

TedC (967) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450489)

"...and can be mixed with fruit juice, sugar, and food coloring to produce jam."

Peanut butter and silkworm sandwiches!

I think I'll stay with grape.

Hobbies in Space: Silk Weaving (1)

yogibaer (757010) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450491)

Spend those years in space fruitfully and learn new arts and crafts, while you have your tasty snack. Make yourself some nice silk underwear, shirts and payamas for the really hot days on Venus. Or light up that dreary spaceship with home made furnishings: "Silk's elegant, soft luster and beautiful drape makes it perfect for many furnishing applications. It is used for upholstery, wall coverings, window treatments (if blended with another fiber), rugs, bedding and wall hangings". (Quoted from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silk [wikipedia.org] )

Klingons call it GHAK for a reason! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26450507)

Is this some sort of dis-incentive to astronaut service?

Silk Worm Madras (1)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450533)

.. because everybody loves a good curry, it will hide the taste (but not the texture)...

hmmmmmmm!

and food coloring to produce jam (2, Insightful)

w1d3 (1118983) | more than 5 years ago | (#26450607)

because jam tastes much better when it's colored!

Dear NASA, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26450623)

Regarding my application for the astronaut program:

Nevermind!

okthanksbye

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