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Mars ISS NASA Space Science

NASA Working on Mars Menu 220

Posted by samzenpus
from the we're-going-to-need-a-bigger-cooler dept.
DevotedSkeptic writes in with a story about the work going into feeding astronauts on a mission to Mars. "The menu must sustain a group of six to eight astronauts, keep them healthy and happy and also offer a broad array of food. That's no simple feat considering it will likely take six months to get to the Red Planet, astronauts will have to stay there 18 months and then it will take another six months to return to Earth. Imagine having to shop for a family's three-year supply of groceries all at once and having enough meals planned in advance for that length of time. 'Mars is different just because it's so far away,' said Maya Cooper, a senior research scientist with Lockheed Martin who is leading the efforts to build the menu. 'We don't have the option to send a vehicle every six months and send more food as we do for the International Space Station.'"
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NASA Working on Mars Menu

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  • by Salgak1 (20136) <salgak@NOspam.speakeasy.net> on Thursday September 06, 2012 @04:52AM (#41245303) Homepage
    Actually, there IS an option to re-supply. Carry a year's worth onboard, and send an unmanned cargo pod ahead to park in Mars orbit. Put an additional 12 or so months food in it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 06, 2012 @05:16AM (#41245397)

    "the lack of gravity means smell - and taste - is impaired. So the food is bland."

    Really.

    How come nobody else reading Slashdot noticed this ludicrous statement? How can a lack of gravity "impair" smell? Do they mean the SENSE of smell or taste? What are they talking about?

  • by Cenan (1892902) on Thursday September 06, 2012 @05:30AM (#41245475)

    Well, a resupply module does not need a reasonable flight path, it just needs to be there in time for the astronauts to utilize it.

  • by Teancum (67324) <robert_horning@ n e tzero.net> on Thursday September 06, 2012 @07:28AM (#41246125) Homepage Journal

    Until a propulsion method is invented that can get humans to mars and back in a few weeks the whole premise is ridiculous. No SANE person is going to volunteer to spend a year in a capsule with 18 months on a dust ball with an unbreathable atmosphere and lethal UV radiation. Sure, you'll find some volunteers but I guaranteed they'll all be mentally unbalanced and would probably chicken out at the last moment anyway. And don't anyone compare it with old sailing ship voyages - its nothing like that. On a ship you have gravity, fresh air, you can go outside, stop off at places and even swim. The nearest analogy would be to the conditions the poor slaves were kept in on atlantic voyages down in the hold.

    Well, perhaps count me as insane, as I would volunteer for such a trip to Mars in a heartbeat.

    Well, if I had to spend a year long voyage to Mars trapped in a capsule the size of a phone booth I would be a little bit more upset and concerned, and there is no way I would travel to Mars in the Orion capsule alone and in free fall the whole way, but there are other ways to make the trip a little more reasonable.

    As for comparing a trip to Mars with a voyage from London to San Francisco in the 19th Century or even just across the North Atlantic in the 17th Century, I think the analogy is pretty appropriate. No, you didn't just jump into the water whenever you felt like it (assuming that you could even swim... that was not even a common skill for most people of that era). Regardless, I think you are making too many excuses for why it won't work.

    If you want to see at least one well thought out proposal in terms of how somebody has suggested a trip to Mars can happen, here is a video for you to look at:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cx6cioPdPZQ [youtube.com]

    For myself, I would prefer to travel to Mars in a NAUTILUS-X [wikipedia.org] spacecraft. There are propulsion methods for getting to Mars that are effective in cutting that trip down to just a few weeks like you are suggesting, but most of them involve nuclear energy as an energy source of some kind. There are so many anti-nuclear nuts that complain each time NASA sends up a radioisotope thermoelectric generator (usually called simply an RTG) that assembling a full fledged nuclear reactor in space would be seen as public enemy #1 and would kill any attempt to even try. These same idiots would likely complain even if it was a nuclear fusion reactor instead, as that dreaded "nuclear" word would be used still. The trick for travel to Mars quickly is to simply have a high density energy source. Mars is just on the edge of what you can do with chemical energy in terms of using things like liquid oxygen and something else like hydrogen or methane. That is the reason why it takes so long to travel to Mars.

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