I’m sure being locked for three years in a pressurized metal container would be enough to turn anyone into a green, hulking rage monster, but imagine if your only diet options while up there were to go completely vegan or only eat pre-packaged space food.
Let’s just say you wouldn’t want to see us when we’re hungry.
In preparation for a planned journey to Mars in the 2030s (about 18 years from now) scientists are racing against the clock to create a sustainable meal plan for a team of six to eight astronauts to last the duration of the trip, or a whole two and a half years. Laid out, this will come out to approximately six months getting there, six months back and 18 months in between doing like, science and stuff.
The main problem with such a trip is the distance, says Maya Cooper, one of the senior researchers on the Mars Meal Plan Project. “Mars is different just because it’s so far away,” she explains, “We don’t have the option to send a vehicle every six months and send more food as we do for International Space Station.”
To tackle this issue, Cooper and her team are experimenting with a “Martian Greenhouse,” which will allow astronauts to grow a variety of fruits and vegetables to be used in their 100% vegetarian meals, as meats and dairy products won’t last the trip. They are also considering the alternative of having all pre-packaged meals which will have to sustain a five year shelf life.
Citing the importance of variety to both psychological health and nutrition, researchers say the ideal would be to combine the two menus, though Gizmodo joked that a third option could be to make a preservative-chocked McDonalds run the night before the launch.
Personally, I think all three options are bunk, but hey, even vegan pizza is bound to sound better than soggy fries after the first three to four hours (or you know, seasons). Let’s just hope Cooper and co. can get their act together in time.
[Via Huffington Post]