Researchers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and Cornell University are looking at ways to improve astronaut dining.
The study will address “menu fatigue” and how to prevent it during extended time in space. Menu fatigue occurs when people get tired of eating the same thing day in and day out. They respond by eating less, which can cause malnutrition and loss of muscle and bone mass.
The researchers have put together a team of nine people – six primary crew members and three reserve crew – who will live in a simulated Martian base for 120 days in 2013. The crew will test new forms of food and food preparation strategies.
Research will compare instant foods and food cooked by the crew and track whether food preferences change over time. Energy and water required for each meal and clean-up, as well as the time it takes for each will also be tracked.
The goal is to improve astronaut health and happiness while living in a confined space for extended periods of time. It will be interesting to find out what sort of recipes make the cut.
Dome on a Red Planet image via Shutterstock