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Mars Space

Four Month Mars Food Study Wraps Up 142

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the huy-fong-plans-martian-factory dept.
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.
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Four Month Mars Food Study Wraps Up

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  • by bluegutang (2814641) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @11:04AM (#44564849)
    • by oodaloop (1229816) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @11:07AM (#44564887)
      They're just called chocolate bars there.
      • by RivenAleem (1590553) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @11:35AM (#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."

        • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @11:46AM (#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.

        • by Firethorn (177587)

          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: (Score:1, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            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.

        • by dunnomattic (2590531) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @12:09PM (#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.

          • by polar red (215081)

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

            • by fritsd (924429)
              Whereas in the Netherlands the old bread with eggs and milk is called "flipping bitches" (wentelteefjes). No, I'm not joking or exaggerating.

              And in Swedish it's called "fattig riddare" which means "poor knight" like in German as I learned today: http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=4089849&cid=44566217 [slashdot.org]. At least that word is a bit more understandable..
            • by GNious (953874)

              Observation: Nothing I've found in Belgium really classifies as "bread", except for a few imported options :)

          • ... However, New Orleans "French Bread" as a firm crust yet porous, sponge-like interior to both soak up the mix while hold together.

            Using slightly stale bread, such as sliced and left out on the countertop overnight, is a good way to achieve the firm outside and soft inside.

            • ... However, New Orleans "French Bread" as a firm crust yet porous, sponge-like interior to both soak up the mix while hold together.

              Using slightly stale bread, such as sliced and left out on the countertop overnight, is a good way to achieve the firm outside and soft inside.

              Oops I confused french bread and french toast. Presumably there is more than one type of bread in France.

        • by jafiwam (310805)

          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."

          Interestingly enough, to go along with the article mentioning tortillas, "French Tortillas" cooked the same way as French Bread are quite good too. Four tortillas are a bit better than corn when used this way. I was quite pleased to discover it worked well.

          Bread is not used fast enough in my household so flour tortillas are often a substitute. Tortillas last much longer than a loaf of bread does when stored on a kitchen counter.

          • by mattack2 (1165421)

            You can put both tortillas and bread in the refrigerator to make them last even longer. I think many people even freeze bread, and IIRC, you can still toast the frozen bread into proper toast.

        • 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."

          This is a French recipe as I've been told by a French friend, used to reclaim old bread. However, typically, when American cuisine has "French" in the title (such as "french fires") it is because it is cooked in the "French style" which is to say fried in fat. At least, that is what I found out after a session of doing web searches as to wondering why "French fires" are called that instead of "Belgian Fries" as I see in Europe.

      • by Megane (129182)
        I thought they were called Back Bars. [wikipedia.org]
      • In Canada, they actually try to pass it off as an "Energy Bar". Those words are actually in small print under the logo.

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

    • by fritsd (924429)
      Must... resist... substituting word in Electric Six song...
  • Yup... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Type44Q (1233630) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @11:04AM (#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...

    • by Type44Q (1233630)
      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...
  • by P-niiice (1703362) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @11:05AM (#44564855)
    Really, they're thinking about Velveeta? For Burritos? On Mars? In an Airtight bubble?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      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.

  • Banned alternative - surstromming

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vu6_Pi_a1lI [youtube.com]

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgV2imaOCao [youtube.com]

    Or should that be canned alternative?

  • 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.
    • by Sockatume (732728) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @11:17AM (#44564979)

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

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        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.

      • by Gothmolly (148874)

        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.

        • by Sockatume (732728)

          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.

      • by Anonymous Coward

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

        My grandmother spends every winter in an old log cabin in the mountains. She stocks up on food in the fall because it's not reachable except by snowshoe for about 4 or 5 months, and she can't walk that far even in good weather.

        But the situations are a bit different- she doesn't have a weight limit and has access to as much water and air as she needs. She's not locked in a hermetically sealed unit, and doesn't have to worry about what to do with the trash or bodily waste either.

        I think the biggest thing to t

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      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 sp

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

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

  • Borscht? (Score:3, Funny)

    by ebno-10db (1459097) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @11:15AM (#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? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @11:40AM (#44565187) Journal
      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.
  • Bear Grylls (Score:5, Funny)

    by invid (163714) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @11:17AM (#44564983) Homepage
    Why are they wasting time with all these studies? Just send Bear Grylls, he'll find some way to survive.
    • by gstoddart (321705) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @11:20AM (#44564997) Homepage

      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.

      • by Doug Otto (2821601) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @11:23AM (#44565023)
        When the going gets tough, the tough check into hotels. [dailymail.co.uk]
        • by gstoddart (321705)

          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.

        • by Nidi62 (1525137)
          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.
    • by Russ1642 (1087959)

      There aren't any hotels on Mars.

    • by Lumpy (12016)

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

    • by bdwebb (985489)
      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!
    • Unfortunately for Bear, in space he won't have any 5 star hotels to hide out in between video coms back to NASA.

  • 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.

    • I have a pretty impressive string of only veggie patties going. If I can lay off the sauce there seems to be no end in sight, I never get sick of them. (I get drunk and order pizza...aka the curse of the modern fat man).
  • by PPH (736903) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @11:22AM (#44565011)

    20 minute delivery or its free.

  • by invid (163714) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @11:25AM (#44565043) Homepage
    They should send up a copy of the book, "To Serve Man" [wikipedia.org], just in case.
  • by jimmydigital (267697) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @11:26AM (#44565057) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday August 14, 2013 @11:27AM (#44565071) Journal

    Day 1. Algae slurry.

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

  • 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 missi
    • 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

      • by Russ1642 (1087959)

        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.

    • by Whorhay (1319089)

      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.

      • by wjcofkc (964165)
        While it would be interesting to see how fish would operate under 38% Earth gravity long-term, I have doubts that such a system would be indefinitely sustainable without quite a bit of work for people who would already be stretched to their own operational limits. You make it sound simple, but one thing goes wrong and a large and important part of your food source could be gone with no hope of recovery. For a non-plant source of protein, I think it would make more sense to breed an insect such as grasshoppe
        • by Whorhay (1319089)

          I agree that the risks of relying on your own grown food is significant should it all fail. That is something we could test in LEO first though, and I would suggest testing all such methods that way whether it is fish or insects or just plain plants. All of those methods share a lot of the same risks.

          The reason I like fish though is that they form a more symbiotic relationship with the plants in a hydraponic situation. You feed the fish vegetable matter that you don't want to eat, the fish grow into meat an

  • 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 f

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

      Dunno about the meat.

    • by Nidi62 (1525137)

      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?

    • by X0563511 (793323)

      The food in order to meat mission specificatio

      I see what you did there.

    • by Whorhay (1319089)

      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.

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

    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.

    • by robot256 (1635039)
      Astronauts spend a lot of time exercising, and the thinner atmosphere probably does something too. Probably doesn't make much of a difference.
  • 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....

  • 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.

    • by Whorhay (1319089)

      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.

      • by mattack2 (1165421)

        Not just air pressure, I wonder if the lack of 'hot air rising' has something to do with it too. You won't have the hot air with food aroma rising into your nose.

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