Wanted: Volunteer Foodies ... for Mars

NASA seeks team for 4-month simulation in Hawaii

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 20, 2012 8:38 AM CST

(Newser) – NASA is on the lookout for a few good cooks to experience life on Mars. Researchers backed by the space agency are seeking a team of volunteers for a simulation of the journey. Its aim: to determine what to put on the menu for a hypothetical future trip, which would last three years. Participating in the simulation would mean spending four months in a base on a Hawaii lava flow, wearing imitation spacesuits and eating what astronauts currently eat—plus cooking using a selection of durable ingredients.

NASA wants to choose inexpensive, healthy foods—and it wants to ensure astronauts don't get sick of the offerings. "It's important to keep astronauts eating well," says a researcher at Cornell, where the pre-Hawaii training sessions will be held. "It goes to mission success and astronaut safety." Volunteers should be "easygoing, without a whole lot of prickles—people who are interested in food, who know how to cook." The exact location hasn't been set yet, but "we need a site that is very low on vegetation, visually isolated, visually Mars-like and very stark," says a University of Hawaii researcher. Interested? You'll need a Bachelor’s degree in engineering, biological or physical sciences, mathematics, or computer science—and you'll need to apply here by Feb. 29.

This undated file photo taken by the NASA Hubble Space Telescope shows the planet Mars.
This undated file photo taken by the NASA Hubble Space Telescope shows the planet Mars.   (AP Photo/NASA Hubble Space Telescope, File)
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