NASA may be solving one of its astronaut food problems by using high-calorie food bars designed especially so as to have different flavors and textures.
Humanity has big dreams of reaching and exploring new, previously unknown territories.
As several nations are competing in various space races, even private companies the likes of SpaceX have been joining in.
The company has already stated that it intends to set up a Mars human colony, but as this would increasingly longer space missions, it faces one major problem.
This is related to one of the basic human necessities: food. Whilst various water sources have been discovered, including the recently spotted Martian ice reservoir, food sources are scarce.
NASA has been dealing with the food problem for quite some time now. Whilst the ISS or the International Space Station has enough space so as to accommodate food supplies, future space missions such as Orion, have not.
According to a recent NASA statement, the team of scientists behind the mission are one step closer to resolving the astronaut food problems.
One of their solutions is the production of high-calorie food bars which could serve as breakfast or even dinner bars.
Jessica Vos, the Orion deputy medical technical and health authority, stated that a 700 to 900 calories meal will have quite a mass, no matter its shape.
As such, the team has decided to test out and figure its best shape so as to accommodate more such meals aboard a spacecraft.
Early Orion crews and flights could come to benefit from such food bars as they would offer an easier to store, higher reserve of food sources.
The agency’s scientists are reportedly currently working on developing the said food bars as they are trying to vary their taste, flavors, and textures.
The need for such food bars stems from the fact that, as opposed to the ISS, Orion will not beneficiate from restocking. The mission will also have to carry and return with all of its necessary equipment.
Whilst food bars and even liquid meals are not an uncommon nutritional method, such high-calorie meals required further studies. The units are being designed so as to pack enough calories to meet the mass reduction requirements and also the nutritional value.
Scientists are also testing another new method of dealing with the astronaut food problems. Even after humanity will have managed to set up a colony, it will still need food sources.
A restock of its food supplies would be quite difficult during long-term travels or for long-distance colonies.
As such, specialists are trying to come up with a way of growing and setting up a local food supply so as to determine a definite solution to the astronaut food problems.
The ISS members have been working on a way of growing food out in space as Shane Kimbrough, one of the mission astronauts, has initiated the third such study.
The Space Station orbital laboratory has a vegetable production system which is currently involved in determining the necessary conditions for growing fresh food.
Researchers are also looking into new packing methods as they intend to prolong and ensure their safe, nutritious storage in fluctuating environments such as Mars.
Image Source: Wikimedia