Space-Age Culinary Delicacies
As space exploration becomes more ambitious, finding better ways to nourish astronauts while they are in space has become imperative. During Session 025, “NASA Food System Challenges: They Are Out of This World,” speakers will discuss the challenges of developing nutritious food for astronauts who have extended missions in space. Not only will NASA missions gradually extend in duration, but they could involve large numbers of people or perhaps include prolonged stays on extra-terrestrial surfaces. Food scientists are exploring innovative food systems that would best meet the needs of each mission.
For example, food scientists along with space mission planners must determine whether providing crew members with prepackaged food provisions would be the best option for a mission to Mars or having the crew grow food plants as part of a biodegenerative food system. A biodegenerative food system, such as fresh-grown crops and bulk packaged ingredients for a mission to Mars, would be a departure from the prepackaged food systems currently consumed during NASA space initiatives. More importantly, would such a food system provide adequate nutrients and be easy to sustain and prepare. In addition, food scientists are adapting high-energy electron-beam irradiation as an advanced form of non-thermal food processing to serve NASA’s space food program. Speakers Michele Perchonok, Suresh Pillai, Jean Hunter, and Maya Cooper will explore these issues and more on Tuesday, June 26, at 10:30 a.m. in room N109.