The moment astronauts are in space, they are on their own which is why keeping their bodies fit and healthy is necessary. With the mission to Mars program in the horizon, getting the right kind and amount of food will be extremely essential.
As of late, NASA is looking to produce nutritious resources not only to sustain the agency's exploration personnel. The space organization is also seeking to load up gastronomic items that will not be considered a burden to the space crafts.
NASA's primary approach is to prepare astronauts on journeying to the deep frontier. This is the sphere that is situated past the moon.
Considering the uncertainty of the trip, preparations mean everything especially if the accommodating vessel cannot accommodate heavy cargos. Mars-bound explorers will be travelling on the space-challenged Orion craft.
The impending Mars expedition will be, in a way, different from past space missions. Primarily, crew members have the luxury to choose from around 200 food items that they will be taking with them during the trip.
Secondly, the Orion will be flying solo which means that no accompanying craft will carry its supplies and trash. Everything that will be on board the module will also be brought back by the crew after the mission.
The Mars mission will restrict the Orion from packing itself with too much weight. Heavy loads will only consume lots of fuel energy. The development of food bars is a vital part of the program since the nutritional requirements needed by the astronauts must not add burden to the overall mass of the spacecraft.
According to NASA engineer Jessica Vos, having 700 to 900 calories is already a weight worth accommodating. Reducing the packages will be important to the process of limiting the respective mass.
Currently, the available bars need to be reinforced with more essential nourishments. Sometimes protein bars are utilized as meal substitutes.
Scientist Takiyah Sirmons of NASA's Advanced Food Technology says that it is necessary to produce nutritionally-enhanced food bars that won't get spoiled in the long run.
Meals for space missions vary. Some are thermo-stabilized which means that the items are heated to destroy harmful microbes. Others are rehydratable wherein water is only added to the food when astronauts eat it.
In line with this, food selection is vital to the mental and emotional being of the personnel. It is essential that the astronauts get enough nutrients from the diet they choose.
Moreover, growing vegetables in space is also an option that is being enhanced by the space agency. This approach has already been done by individuals on board the International Space Station (ISS).
It is being mapped out that the Orion will be launched in 2021. NASA is looking forward to have people walking on Mars by 2030.