Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Four Month Mars Food Study Wraps Up

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the huy-fong-plans-martian-factory dept.

Mars 142

After four months in a mock space habitat in Hawaii, participants in a study to determine how best to feed astronauts (HI-SEAS) on a mission to Mars emerged yesterday. A few days ago, the mission commander was interviewed in Astrobiology Magazine, noting the most successful foods: "There's also been a lot of really good cooked dishes. Some of our crew members are accomplished cooks, and every week there are different surprises. Some success meals were Russian borscht, Moroccan tagine, enchilasagna, seafood chowder, and fabada asturiana. Wraps work really well: we combine tortillas, different vegetables, Velveeta cheese, and sausage or canned fish into ever-changing combinations. This is actually in line with the success of tortillas at the ISS. In general, the dehydrated and freeze-dried vegetables are a real success. They're used on a daily basis in almost every meal." The crew kept weblogs, and did other things than just sit around and eat: some studied robotics and they went on a few simulated EVAs.

cancel ×

142 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Did they try this? (5, Funny)

bluegutang (2814641) | about a year ago | (#44564849)

Re:Did they try this? (5, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year ago | (#44564887)

They're just called chocolate bars there.

Re:Did they try this? (5, Funny)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about a year ago | (#44565141)

I lived with a Frenchman for a while and I was making French toast for breakfast once and I asked him what they call it in France. He told me he'd never heard or seen this food before. I asked him why it was called French toast then, and with dead seriousness he replied, "Probably to make it sound better."

Re:Did they try this? (4, Informative)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year ago | (#44565259)

Actually, in France they call it [i]pain perdu[/i] "lost bread", possibly because it's a good use for bread that's gone stale.

Re:Did they try this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44565295)

exactly, it was a recipe to use old bread that had become hard ... I discovered French toasts in Japan, but I had never tasted "pain perdu" in France Lol

Re:Did they try this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44565333)

Actually, Japanese people believe that the cold potato soup called "Vichyssoise" is French and are surprised we do not know about it!
It was invented by a French cook from the "Vichy" French town while he was working in the States but it is unknown in France Lol

Re:Did they try this? (1)

polar red (215081) | about a year ago | (#44566795)

and in the dutch part of belgium, it's called either "verloren brood" (lost bread) or "gewonnen brood" (won bread: because it is not lost ...)

Re:Did they try this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44566217)

Sounds in line with what it is called in germany: Armer Ritter (Poor Knight). It's what you eat if you are a poor knight how only has some old bread in his saddlebags...

Re:Did they try this? (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44565267)

It's called "Pain perdu" which translates to "Lost bread". They call it that because you would traditionally use stale bread.

Re:Did they try this? (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year ago | (#44565291)

dead seriousness he replied, "Probably to make it sound better."

*Snerk*. Same deal with 'french fries' I guess. I've never known French people to be big on deep frying.

*Most* 'Foreign' cuisine in the USA has been modified from it's native version to a sufficient extent to really be considered a different dish. Some of this is due to availability of ingredients, especially for Chinese dishes, but a lot of it is to make it more palatable to american taste buds.

Re:Did they try this? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44565401)

dead seriousness he replied, "Probably to make it sound better."

*Snerk*. Same deal with 'french fries' I guess. I've never known French people to be big on deep frying.

*Most* 'Foreign' cuisine in the USA has been modified from it's native version to a sufficient extent to really be considered a different dish. Some of this is due to availability of ingredients, especially for Chinese dishes, but a lot of it is to make it more palatable to american taste buds.

Nope "french" (really, it's "frenched") is the style of the cut of the potato. Thin cut. Has nothing to do with France which makes Freedom Fries even sillier.

Re:Did they try this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44565705)

Most possessive pronouns in the USA have been modified from their normal version to include an apostrophe.

Re:Did they try this? (5, Informative)

dunnomattic (2590531) | about a year ago | (#44565513)

I grew up in New Orleans where "French Bread" is a staple. I recall many years ago asking my mother why they call the meal French toast. She relayed what her grandmother told her years before -- that the French dish "lost bread" uses dipped, stale bread to salvage what would otherwise be wasted food. A fresh loaf of common bread will fall apart when you pull it out of the milk and eggs. However, New Orleans "French Bread" as a firm crust yet porous, sponge-like interior to both soak up the mix while hold together.

Re:Did they try this? (1)

polar red (215081) | about a year ago | (#44566829)

and in dutch-speaking belgium(and holland too probably) 'Frans brood' (literally 'French bread') is used for baguettes ...

Re:Did they try this? (1)

Megane (129182) | about a year ago | (#44565579)

I thought they were called Back Bars. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Did they try this? (2)

AttillaTheNun (618721) | about a year ago | (#44565585)

In Canada, they actually try to pass it off as an "Energy Bar". Those words are actually in small print under the logo.

Re:Did they try this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44566841)

So basically in that crazy land up north, their snickers bars are our mars bars? :)

Good to know, good to know :)

Re:Did they try this? (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#44566849)

I think you're a bit confused, it's a new energy bar that totally looks like a Mars bar.

Re:Did they try this? (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | about a year ago | (#44565213)

This was my first thought when I saw the headline. The marketing works!

Yup... (4, Funny)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year ago | (#44564853)

Velveeta cheese

That should quickly solve the overpopulation issue inherent to the one-way nature of the trip but will complicate logistics by requiring far greater amounts of toilet paper...

Re:Yup... (1)

Type44Q (1233630) | about a year ago | (#44566203)

Of course, I jest; the combination of whey, food-grade engine oil and potassium sorbate are an ancient Chinese formula for a miraculous, life-extending elixir...

Quite a food lineup (5, Funny)

P-niiice (1703362) | about a year ago | (#44564855)

Really, they're thinking about Velveeta? For Burritos? On Mars? In an Airtight bubble?

Re:Quite a food lineup (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44565001)

Really, they're thinking about Velveeta? For Burritos? On Mars? In an Airtight bubble?

Overall, it probably doesn't matter much. Given the dry air, lack of showers, etc. the smell must be something to be get used to anyway. Adding a little more, no big difference.

you had me at ENCHILASAGNA ! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44565109)

nt

Re:Quite a food lineup (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44565327)

It reduces the amount of methane that has to brought on board.
The previously tried to bring a cow on Fobos-Grunt but it never made it. The flatulent fuckers are less than wieldy when in a confined space.

Fabada in a spaceship... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44564883)

While it may taste great, fabada asturiana is very famous for its farting production capacity (as most meals that contain beans). Now imagine that in a spaceship... yep, recipe for disaster!

Re:Fabada in a spaceship... (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#44564911)

I don't know if this is a regional thing or what but I absolutely devour beans, cheese and the like and don't seem to encounter the sort of apocalyptic digestive consequences that I see cited on where whenever someone brings up sturdy food.

What causes some people to have such weaponised digestive tracts?

Re:Fabada in a spaceship... (5, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44565019)

There are pretty substantial variations in intestinal normal flora between individuals (non-human cells in your body outnumber the human ones about 10-1, and many of them live in the gut), so that would be my guess. I'm not nearly enough microbiologist to suggest which organisms or strains are involved; but gut bacteria are a significant variable (since they vary based on where you were first innoculated with them, internal competition between organisms, antibiotics you've taken, etc.) that changes markedly faster than any human genetic or epigenetic component does.

Re:Fabada in a spaceship... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44565035)

Gut Flora.

In the case of cheese only ~50% of the adult human population can properly handle lactose as that is a relatively recent evolution. It is basically the same reason for beans, but oligosaccharide rather than lactose. When the gut flora breaks down the sugars gas is produced.

The amount of gas produced is very much controlled by bacterial in the gut, and that is fairly unique to each person. How the beans are cooked can also significantly change their effect on people.

Re:Fabada in a spaceship... (4, Interesting)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | about a year ago | (#44565051)

Gut flora.

Basically the gas from beans is produced by bacteria breaking down oligosaccharides that your digestive system can't break down as easily. You may have different bacteria or a smaller amount of the same bacteria than someone who is more gassy.

Re:Fabada in a spaceship... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44565133)

From what I undestand, there's a (water soluble?) carbonhydrate in beans that some people can't digest properly, so bacteria end up doing it instead, anaerobically. Dairy have a similar problem with lactose.

Basically some people lack the right enzymes, bacteria culture and whatnot.

Re:Fabada in a spaceship... (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#44565261)

If you want to see something fun, Have someone eat RAW kidney beans or kidney beans not boiled but slowly soaked and cooked under very low heat.

They will turn into a Puke and poo sprinkler as it violently comes out pretty much every hole all at once. Most beans require cooking above a certain temperature and time to make them safe to eat.

Re:Fabada in a spaceship... (2)

retchdog (1319261) | about a year ago | (#44566715)

Just for the record, that's due to a protein rather than a carbohydrate, and the problem is not indigestibility but rather that the protein is actively toxic [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Fabada in a spaceship... (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#44565233)

What causes some people to have such weaponised digestive tracts?

Lack of exposure, mostly.

If you don't eat something like that regularly, your body has a hell of a time trying to deal with it. If you haven't built up the right stuff to digest it, some of those starches cause some pretty unpleasant side effects. As a long-ish term vegetarian, I've definitely found I have to go through a periodic adjustment period to something new. And it can definitely be a little toxic.

It's like spicy food ... if you eat it all the time, your body can probably deal with it. If you don't, well, you might need some aloe the next day. ;-)

Re:Fabada in a spaceship... (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year ago | (#44565699)

As well as a failure to appropriately soak/process the beans.

Re:Fabada in a spaceship... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44566981)

As well as a failure to appropriately soak/process the beans.

This. I thought I had figured out an easy way for a busy person to cook dried beans: stick them in a (small) slow cooker for 24 hours on low. Simple, easy, and, as it turns out, a good way to get intestinal distress.

Turns out there's a compound in many beans which will cause severe intestinal discomfort. You have to deactivate it first, which requires a certain time at a high temperature. Using commercially canned beans or dried beans that have been cooked by boiling is typically fine, as by the time the beans have been softened by boiling (or are ready to be put in the can), enough time has elapsed for the compound to be inactivated. Dried beans that haven't been cooked properly, or have only been cooked at sub-boiling temperatures will cause you big problems. (I'm not sure what people at high altitudes do regarding dried beans - use a pressure cooker, I guess. Which, as it turns out, is a good way to cook beans even if you're at sea level.)

That said, this wouldn't be a problem for the Marstronauts, as the beans are likely to be well cooked prior to being dehydrated. (Unless they start growing their own.)

Re:Fabada in a spaceship... (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year ago | (#44567215)

You can slowcook them just fine, but when you do an overnight soak and rinse prior to cooking is mandatory or you will have a fun time.

Re:Fabada in a spaceship... (3, Funny)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about a year ago | (#44565029)

While it may taste great, fabada asturiana is very famous for its farting production capacity (as most meals that contain beans). Now imagine that in a spaceship... yep, recipe for disaster!

Or a nifty way to top up the fuel tank :)

Fucking Great. How much did this cost? (1, Insightful)

PvtVoid (1252388) | about a year ago | (#44564933)

All they learned was what anybody who does a lot of camping already knows: tortillas keep well, freeze-dried vegetables are a good way to add variety to a dreary and repetitive menu of preserved meat.

NASA for the fail. Again.

Re:Fucking Great. How much did this cost? (4, Funny)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#44564979)

You normally go camping for four months at a time, and do all your shopping before you leave, smartass?

Re:Fucking Great. How much did this cost? (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#44565249)

Yes I do... we also consider the two donkeys carrying all the supplies when we start out as a part of the meal plan so we dont waste space.

Re:Fucking Great. How much did this cost? (2)

PvtVoid (1252388) | about a year ago | (#44565339)

we also consider the two donkeys carrying all the supplies when we start out as a part of the meal plan so we dont waste space.

You could do that with half the astronauts! Hell, there's no shortage of volunteers for a one-way trip [washingtonpost.com] .

Re:Fucking Great. How much did this cost? (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about a year ago | (#44565917)

Appalachian Trail hikers often do. People pre-buy all their food and have it shipped to them. And it takes a minimum of 4 months for the trip.

Re:Fucking Great. How much did this cost? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#44567163)

Now I feel like a smartass. Anyway, my point is that it's not necessarily obvious what you'd want to take to have a nutritious yet varied diet while minimising load.

Re:Fucking Great. How much did this cost? (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | about a year ago | (#44565311)

All they learned was what anybody who does a lot of camping already knows: tortillas keep well, freeze-dried vegetables are a good way to add variety to a dreary and repetitive menu of preserved meat.

Tortillas aren't used because they keep well. They're used because they don't generate crumbs. That's why they don't use bread - the crumbs would fly everywhere and get into everything, which is not only an irritant (a crumb could fly into an eye), but also dangerous if it plugged a sensor onboard.

Living in space has unique dietary requirements because of various biological effects and restrictions. Food can't become easily airborne for starters. It also much keep relatively well because you have limited cooking options (no stove), and the long term effects of recycled air has to be taken into account (imagine the stench of food hanging around for days at a time and even worse, propagating throughout the habitat).

In addition, one's sense of smell and taste is severely compromised in space, so food tastes blander.

And it's also important to figure out what foods can be grown in space and what are impractical to produce (e.g., cheese) and thus must be brought up. But if you're bringing food up because it's impractical to grow, you need to know if it'll still be "good" up there (taste, texture, etc), and how much one should bring to be satisfied (due to limited weight).

Yes, it's a giant camping trip. Except it's done with 4 other people in a space barely larger than an elevator. No "wide open nature" to help dissipate smells and other things.

Re:Fucking Great. How much did this cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44565533)

They're gonna be on Mars. Not in outer space. Open the window, DUH.

Re:Fucking Great. How much did this cost? (1)

mjr167 (2477430) | about a year ago | (#44565971)

I wanted them to eat soup in a vacuum...

Re:Fucking Great. How much did this cost? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44566259)

And it was still less of a waste than your entire education.

Re:Fucking Great. How much did this cost? (1)

You're All Wrong (573825) | about a year ago | (#44566843)

And Hawaii? WTF? You learn nothing about food on Mars from going to Hawaii.
They should have gone to the poles, as that's a much more similar environment.

Recipe contest winners (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#44564959)

The second place winner in main dishes deserves praise, I think.

http://hi-seas.org/?p=2204 [hi-seas.org]

Borscht? (3, Funny)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year ago | (#44564965)

Some success meals were Russian borscht ...

Even Russian robots don't eat borscht. They do better on electricity from solar cells. The engines may require a different diet.

Hold it, you were thinking of sending ugly bags of mostly water? Why? What is this, the Rube Goldberg Mars Exploration contest?

Never send a man to do a robot's job.

Re:Borscht? (3, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about a year ago | (#44565187)

We've already sent robots. If we're now in a position to send men, then let's get our ass to Mars. Why? Because it's hard, and because we can. Good for science and engineering. And humans may be fragile but they are also versatile. Won't a manned mission be able to do more than a robotic one?

As for expenses: we have the money and the resources. If we spend only a fraction of what we waste on useless crap, our space program should be flush with cash.

Re:Borscht? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44565789)

How are humans tucked in a space suit more versatile than robots, especially compared to the sheer number of robotics we could send over for the gigantic weight a human trip would require?

Re:Borscht? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44566253)

Agree. The solution isn't to spend a hundred billion dollars to put a man in a suit on Mars. It's to spend a hundred billion dollars on better robotics. Why? Because better robotics have a fuckload more uses, both in planetary exploration and here on Earth.

The other hilarity about the hubris of manned planetary exploration is that after Mars, there's not a lot of places where it's remotely practical to put a human, no matter how good the suit. Venus and Mercury will never be home to man (terraforming isn't remotely a realistic option) and beyond Mars, it gets real cold and lonely, real quick. I'd much rather we had far more advanced robots roaming the moons of the gas giants than trying to get a human comfortable while wandering about on a surface that never gets above -150 C and gives more than a lethal (500+ rems) dose of radiation every single day.

Re:Borscht? (2)

tchuladdiass (174342) | about a year ago | (#44566353)

The ability to make instant decisions and execute them on the spot is a good start. The robots have to be pre-programmed and try to function semi-autonomously due to the time lag. Even if we put humans just in orbit around Mars so they can remotely control ground-based robotic vehicles, much more would get done much faster.

Bear Grylls (5, Funny)

invid (163714) | about a year ago | (#44564983)

Why are they wasting time with all these studies? Just send Bear Grylls, he'll find some way to survive.

Re:Bear Grylls (3, Funny)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#44564997)

Why are they wasting time with all these studies? Just send Bear Grylls, he'll find some way to survive.

Or make for really awesome ratings when he doesn't.

Fox would be all over that.

Re:Bear Grylls (4, Funny)

Doug Otto (2821601) | about a year ago | (#44565023)

When the going gets tough, the tough check into hotels. [dailymail.co.uk]

Re:Bear Grylls (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#44565081)

When the going gets tough, the tough check into hotels.

LOL, that's what my wife calls roughing it too ... but we're not saying we're survival experts.

And, really, they *do* need to keep him alive during filming, so I'm not exactly surprised that what is shown on screen doesn't 100% reflect what actually happened or that some of it is carefully staged. The little I've seen of that, he's doing some really dangerous things, and the insurance companies aren't going to let you kill off your principal.

Re:Bear Grylls (2)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year ago | (#44565273)

I thought his shows were always intended to just show how people survive in these types of situations, not of someone actually surviving them. I distinctly remember that there was a disclaimer at the beginning of the show that some of the scenes were staged, or maybe had animals introduced(such as snakes) to demonstrate what to do should you run across them.

Re:Bear Grylls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44566615)

I thought his shows were always intended to just show how people survive in these types of situations, not of someone actually surviving them. I distinctly remember that there was a disclaimer at the beginning of the show that some of the scenes were staged, or maybe had animals introduced(such as snakes) to demonstrate what to do should you run across them.

A surprising portion of people think that everythinging they see in a "documentary" really happened exactly as shown and was filmed live.

The truth is that basicly everything you see on TV was staged, even if it's part of a documentary and "based on true events".

Re:Bear Grylls (2)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a year ago | (#44565021)

There aren't any hotels on Mars.

Re:Bear Grylls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44565363)

There aren't any hotels on Mars.

Sure there are [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Bear Grylls (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#44565239)

He cant survive on Earth without a support team. Ask the real survivalist that does "survivorman" what he thinks of good ol; Bear.

Re:Bear Grylls (1)

Kinthelt (96845) | about a year ago | (#44565589)

Les Stroud is my hero.

Re:Bear Grylls (1)

bdwebb (985489) | about a year ago | (#44565919)

Yes - as long as his camera crew is there to give him shelter and food after he finishes peeing in his own mouth and picking through his feces for "the good bits", he will survive. Les Stroud on the other hand would be hiking his body weight in cameras around and sucking water from Martian rocks while his support crew remains in orbit...just in case.

Les Stroud fo' liife!

Re:Bear Grylls (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year ago | (#44565985)

Unfortunately for Bear, in space he won't have any 5 star hotels to hide out in between video coms back to NASA.

Re:Bear Grylls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44565993)

I would have phrased this differently, "Why are they wasting time with all these studies? Then Democrats will spend all the money twice over so we'll never get off the ground."

Please excuse my political pessimism, but think back to Apollo 18 (not the movie), 19, and 20; the Shuttle replacement which ain't; ad infinitum ad nauseum.

Take me (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a year ago | (#44565007)

I have no problem eating the same thing for every meal. Just get me a three year supply of Mountain House freeze dried Pasta Primavera and I'd be set.

Dominos Pizza (2, Funny)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44565011)

20 minute delivery or its free.

Re:Dominos Pizza (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44565175)

Except they're so cheap with their toppings you may as well just order bread sticks dipped in tomato sauce.

To Serve Man (4, Funny)

invid (163714) | about a year ago | (#44565043)

They should send up a copy of the book, "To Serve Man" [wikipedia.org] , just in case.

Do you know.. (4, Funny)

jimmydigital (267697) | about a year ago | (#44565057)

Jules: Do you know what they call a quarter pounder with cheese on Mars?
Brett: No.
Jules: It's still called a quarter pounder with cheese because Mars was colonized by America and you know we had to have that shit our way.
Vincent: Also, a quarter pound burger is as big as your head but just don't ask where the meat comes from.

Re:Do you know.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44565199)

shit post, shit user.

Re:Do you know.. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#44565231)

Hey, Buggalo is very tasty when cooked and processed properly.

Actual Mars Menu (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44565071)

Day 1. Algae slurry.

Day 2. Algae slurry.
 
...
Day N. Algae slurry.
 
...
Day N+1 Algae slurry.

Re:Actual Mars Menu (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#44565123)

Day N^2. Redshirts.

Well, it's a nice thought (1)

wjcofkc (964165) | about a year ago | (#44565127)

It's nice that people come along and try to drum up interest in space with these pseudo-experiments, but this is not really very practical. If we were to send people to Mars it would be for a very, very, very long stay. Think years, if not forever. While the first humans on Mars would surely bring with them a few months of food to get started, they would have to consider themselves on their own past that. In terms of weight, it would only be practical to send as little as possible with them. Re-supply missions would be so costly, they would likely be far and few between and would concentrate on water and replacement equipment - things do break down. Also, what if something went wrong and a food re-supply mission that said Martians would be depending on did not make it? At least water can (and would), be recycled and stretched out. It's well established that a long-term manned Mars mission would have to be largely self-sustainable - in other words: luxuries such as cheese and fish would be out of the question. A more practical experiment would involve establishing how and what foods future Martians would be able to cultivate on their own, as boring a diet as it might be, as well as pushing water recycling to new levels of efficiency.

Re:Well, it's a nice thought (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year ago | (#44565477)

It's nice that people come along and try to drum up interest in space with these pseudo-experiments, but this is not really very practical. If we were to send people to Mars it would be for a very, very, very long stay. Think years, if not forever. While the first humans on Mars would surely bring with them a few months of food to get started, they would have to consider themselves on their own past that. In terms of weight, it would only be practical to send as little as possible with them. Re-supply missions would be so costly, they would likely be far and few between and would concentrate on water and replacement equipment - things do break down. Also, what if something went wrong and a food re-supply mission that said Martians would be depending on did not make it? At least water can (and would), be recycled and stretched out. It's well established that a long-term manned Mars mission would have to be largely self-sustainable - in other words: luxuries such as cheese and fish would be out of the question. A more practical experiment would involve establishing how and what foods future Martians would be able to cultivate on their own, as boring a diet as it might be, as well as pushing water recycling to new levels of efficiency.

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

I don't think they'd be taking much water with them; Mars doesn't have as much water as Earth, but it's still got more than enough (all over the planet) to support a sizable population. A bonus is that it's all in solid form, so it's easy to transport. It's also likely already sterile, and might even be pure for the most part. They'd do better to concentrate on using the available resources (what minerals are available at ground level?) and only bring the things that aren't available on-planet. It would really suck, for example, if there was no selenium on Mars.

Re:Well, it's a nice thought (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | about a year ago | (#44567085)

Let's face it. If you send people to Mars and their equipment breaks, they die. Send along a pack of cyanide pills so they don't have to starve to death or die of dehydration.

Re:Well, it's a nice thought (1)

Whorhay (1319089) | about a year ago | (#44566875)

I'm curious as to why you don't think fish would be viable. Awhile back I was very interested in Aquaponics, a combination of Hydroponics and Aquaculture, and it strikes me as a very good method for growing food both vegetable and meat. The systems I looked at took up relatively little space and were pretty self contained, the only real inputs being fish food. And you could grow duckweed for the fish food.

Stick some astronauts in the inner city (-1, Offtopic)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about a year ago | (#44565139)

So they can learn how to feed undernourished children on Earth.

Re:Stick some astronauts in the inner city (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44565365)

It would probably start with putting the more than generous food stamps (Bridge card, whatever, don't know if that's only a Michigan thing) these people get to better use than Papa Murphy's pizza.

The thing that would really cook would be making contraception available to these people and giving out food stamps/Bridge cards/whatever to people who DON'T have children, so there's no survival incentive to make babies they can't afford in the first place to get government assistance so they can afford to live.

Quite the conundrum there. Can't afford to live? Make a baby you can't afford either. Now the government will help you afford to live. Wonderful shit.

The problem is solvable. The political problems surrounding the solution are intractable, however.

Parts of the US tried that. (2)

jphamlore (1996436) | about a year ago | (#44566521)

Parts of the United States tried similar ideas to reduce the future numbers of poor people. These attempts are now considered to be an atrocity [cnn.com] .

And not really useful.... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#44565215)

Honestly the cost of every ounce of weight to get it to mars and they had meat? Why? Protien powders and mash are a far better idea. The fact that Sausage, even when heavily cured does NOT have a very good shelf life is suspect. 4 month mission to mars, the FOOD needs to be packaged and ready 3 months before launch. so ALL The food in order to meat mission specification really need to be able to withstand a 12-18 month shelf life in case of a launch delay.

This "study" is bogus as hell if they had frozen veggies and meat. Wasting precious weight for food refrigeration is insane. Mars mission will have advanced MRE's that require nothing but hot water that have a wider range of flavors and significantly boosted nutrition. I can not believe that NASA had anything at all to do with this PR stunt.

Re:And not really useful.... (1)

kevkingofthesea (2668309) | about a year ago | (#44565305)

The veggies were freeze-dried, not frozen. That significantly reduces their weight.

Dunno about the meat.

Re:And not really useful.... (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year ago | (#44565411)

Mars mission will have advanced MRE's.....that have a wider range of flavors

I think there is a reason why hot sauce is pretty much as a standard included in every MRE. And if you are leaving Earth for what is pretty much a one-way trip, psychologically it makes sense to include meat with the meals, for a morale boost if nothing else. When you are going somewhere to die, do you really want your last meal to be protein powder?

Re:And not really useful.... (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year ago | (#44566029)

The food in order to meat mission specificatio

I see what you did there.

Re:And not really useful.... (1)

Whorhay (1319089) | about a year ago | (#44567055)

Refrigeration probably isn't all that expensive weight wise, hell they just need to insulate the container from the internal environment and keep it out of the sun.

For most MRE's hot water isn't even necessary, it's just a nicety because people like hot meals for whatever reason.

No Mars Bars on Mars?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44565459)

That's it - I'm out. Turn this ship around!

Am I the only one (1)

robot256 (1635039) | about a year ago | (#44565465)

Am I the only one who read this and thought, "What, is their food replicator broken?"

Reduced Gravity (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44565489)

Anyone know how reduced gravity affects quantity of food eaten? They can't simulate that here but wondering how much less food you would need if you weren't working as hard against gravity.

Re:Reduced Gravity (1)

robot256 (1635039) | about a year ago | (#44566707)

Astronauts spend a lot of time exercising, and the thinner atmosphere probably does something too. Probably doesn't make much of a difference.

Flatulance (1)

Sooner Boomer (96864) | about a year ago | (#44565953)

Seems that if you're going to be in an enclosed space with other people for an extended time, you want foods that produce little/no "natural gas", because, of course *your* farts don't stink, but that other guy's....

First problem-- (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44566043)

All the recipes seem to come from Hawaii. Spam, Spam and eggs, Spam and rice, and heavy sugar cakes (also processed cheese).

Zero G kills sense of taste (1)

Jeff1946 (944062) | about a year ago | (#44566189)

Astronauts have told me that foods have much less taste in space due to fluids increasing in your head. Therefore they like to put lots of hot sauce on things. One worry of course was that a drop of hot sauce would float away and get inhaled. They do particularly like sweets. Thus taste testing on Earth is not too relevant to space.

Re:Zero G kills sense of taste (1)

Whorhay (1319089) | about a year ago | (#44567149)

I was pretty sure it had something to do with the reduced air pressure also. It's the same issue that they have on airplanes with inflight meals always tasting bland. The lower air pressure reduces the effectiveness of taste buds somehow. And the low humidity affects your sense of smell, which is where a lot of perceived flavor actually comes from.

Mars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44567165)

Why bother sending human to Mars, the long duration, radiation, dangers are all unnecessary. Remote control robot/UAV is still best, and lower cost.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?