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. (Read more Mars stories.)