What should we eat on our way to Mars?
Phorale’s Young Cho put a team together for a NASA contest which aims to envision the future of interplanetary eating, with an eye on sustainability here on Earth, too
(an organization that Daugherty co-founded and continues to have a role with as a strategic advisor) that purported to find wide variances in the U.S. food system between the nutritional content from produce at larger corporations versus smaller farms. Considering that NASA astronauts get their food from many of the same massive private companies as average citizens who shop at supermarkets, Cho saw a major flaw to fix. “There’s no testing or accountability,” he says.
Naomi K. Fukagawa, director of the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center at the United States Department of Agriculture, doesn’t dispute that there can be wide variances in nutritional content from what people buy at the grocery store, but cautions on drawing broader conclusions based on small sample sizes and limited testing that’s not peer-reviewed. Fukagawa also emphasized that it’s important to take into context the full dietary needs of each individual. “Balance and variety are key; sustainability and reducing environmental impact should be part of the equation,” Fukagawa says. She also praises what the Ad Astra team has been trying to accomplish: “We need more innovators who aren’t afraid to try new things,” particularly when it comes to providing nutrition in a way that’s not just efficient, but more flavorful. “If they can move the needle, that would be great.”
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Bionutrient Food Association (an organization that Daugherty co-founded and continues to have a role with as a strategic advisor) that purported to find wide variances in the U., the MMX mission should return the material collected from Phobos even earlier, providing the first return of Martian material, including the remains of possible organics, to Earth.Where Should Future Astronauts Land on Mars? Follow the Water › Science Goals The Mars Exploration Program studies Mars as a planetary system in order to understand the formation and early evolution of Mars as a planet, the history of geological processes that have shaped Mars through time, the potential for Mars to have hosted life, and the future exploration of Mars by humans.Share to Linkedin Topline As the new space race ramps up, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency announced a pivotal step in the hunt for evidence of life on Mars, which, if executed, means Japan could attain Martian soil samples and have the opportunity to study those samples for signs of life years before the U.
S. food system between the nutritional content from produce at larger corporations versus smaller farms.. Considering that NASA astronauts get their food from many of the same massive private companies as average citizens who shop at supermarkets, Cho saw a major flaw to fix.” The Planet Atmosphere Atmosphere Mars’ atmosphere is composed primarily of carbon dioxide (about 96 percent), with minor amounts of other gases such as argon and nitrogen. “There’s no testing or accountability,” he says. [+] million laser altimeter measurements in constructing this topographic map of Mars. Naomi K..
Fukagawa, director of the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center at the United States Department of Agriculture, doesn’t dispute that there can be wide variances in nutritional content from what people buy at the grocery store, but cautions on drawing broader conclusions based on small sample sizes and limited testing that’s not peer-reviewed. Note the much lower elevation of the northern hemisphere compared to the southern, with a mean difference in elevation of around ~5 km. Scientists think that Mars may have had a thicker atmosphere early in its history, and data from NASA spacecraft (the mission) indicate that Mars has lost significant amounts of its atmosphere through time. Fukagawa also emphasized that it’s important to take into context the full dietary needs of each individual. “Balance and variety are key; sustainability and reducing environmental impact should be part of the equation,” Fukagawa says. Alternatively, we could receive a tremendous set of surprises that, quite literally, rewrites what we know about the history of Mars and the Martian planetary system. She also praises what the Ad Astra team has been trying to accomplish: “We need more innovators who aren’t afraid to try new things,” particularly when it comes to providing nutrition in a way that’s not just efficient, but more flavorful. However, the exploration of Mars has been intertwined with NASA’s search for life from the beginning. “If they can move the needle, that would be great. After surviving the earliest phases of planet-formation in our youth, a major impact was suspected to occur, kicking up a large amount of debris that coalesced into three moons: a large, massive, innermost moon, with much-smaller Phobos orbiting exterior to that and Deimos comprising the final, outermost satellite.
” To that end, Cho and the crew set about trying to develop one-to-one nutrient-dense substitutions for the food that astronauts typically eat, including reverse-engineering the peanut M&M to not only have enough shelf life for deep space missions (around three to five years) but also to eliminate any fillers. “We wanted to find the right ingredients that will cook well, hold well, and hold their nutrients,” says Linares, whose experience cooking for thousands of marines and developing menus for professional athletes came in handy. If the material returned to Earth from Phobos matches up extraordinarily well with the material we've sampled and analyzed on the Martian surface — as determined by orbiters, landers, and rovers — the MMX mission could serve as a spectacular confirmation of this picture, strongly supported . Ad Astra also worked on a mac and cheese replacement using breadfruit flour instead of wheat (breadfruit is a starchy fruit indigenous to Southeast Asia ), and a hot sauce using sustainable and transparent sourcing of various peppers (ranging from mild to extremely hot on the Scoville chart). “Astronauts are like the Michael Jordan of space,” Linares says.. “And you need nutrients to be able to perform, but then you also have to figure out it would be reheated in the special ovens they use with limited water.
” The Ad Astra team (Ronaldo Linares, Christopher Daugherty, and Young Cho, left to right) developed their proposal for the Deep Space Food Challenge over several months. [+] given rise to three moons of Mars, where only two survive today. Courtesy of Young Cho Every food item the team created has some form of a vitamin-infusion element to it, something that Daugherty, with his 20 years in the field of naturopathy, felt he was well-equipped to help execute. Instead of food coloring and other fillers, Ad Astra went for more “phytochemically sound” components, says Daugherty, describing compounds produced primarily by plants. LABEX UNIVEARTHS / UNIVERSITÉ PARIS DIDEROT However, it's possible that the full suite of evidence is conspiring, at present, to mislead us about the origins of Phobos and Deimos. In order to make sure the food was preserved properly, the team dried it in such a way as to prevent oxidation. But the full menu still needed to come into focus. While the orbits of Phobos and Deimos are extremely consistent with an origin from an ancient impact , their compositions and appearances appear to be quite asteroid-like.
Cho (who’s Korean American) and Linares (with Colombian and Cuban heritage) say it was important to bring in more cultural diversity that would fit astronauts from all backgrounds. “Fifteen months into a mission and you’re eating fucking bullshit, what would you need to carry on? Really eating a slice of home might help,” Cho says. It's also possible that, despite its watery past and life-friendly early conditions, that life may not have ever arisen on the red planet. “Like I would love a dumpling.” Cho notes that it has always been possible to create more culturally diverse provisions (the Russians have borscht and tinned fish as part of their space program), but it’s a matter of taking the time to develop them. The chemical imprints of such a scenario should appear frozen-in to the regiolith of Phobos if it occurred; if not, Phobos might reveal an alternative history, even one that’s entirely unexpected. “[Young and I] kind of understand those deep flavor notes and combinations of ingredients,” says Linares.
“Not all astronauts are white, you know: They’re different races. The craters in this image, caused . So if you’re able to recreate the food they’re familiar with, I think it’ll be special for them to be able to feel like they’re still grounded.” For NASA’s part, Vereen says that the Food Lab “is looking into” creating a more diverse menu of international dishes.. Ad Astra hopes that the team members’ experiences with different types of cuisines (space bibimbap, perhaps?), as well as the science behind creating more nutrient-dense products, will set them apart when the challenge’s judges analyze their work. They also are optimistic that the proposal’s possible applications to more Earth-centric endeavors resonate, too. Some still have defined outer rims and clear features within them, while others are much smoother and featureless, almost seeming to run into one another or merge with their surroundings.
“It’s really about the products we can create for consumers in underserved communities,” says Cho, who has taken a hard look at what food sustainability really means for his own Seattle-based business. His still-in-the-works White Center restaurant Phorale Way settled on a farm-to-table approach in 2020 after Cho saw the rising prices of mass-produced meats along with empty shelves at grocery stores during the pandemic.0 IGO It might seem that sampling Mars, directly, is a far superior approach to sampling Phobos, but that’s not entirely true. On a practical level, adapting what Ad Astra is proposing to terrestrial uses means more independent nutrition evaluation, which is something the team was able to do with the help of Stephan van Vliet, a metabolomics researcher at Duke University (and a fellow consultant, along with Baker). Every item of food went through a rigorous testing process to ensure that it was delivering a high level of nutrients; the team also calculated degradation rates and shelf stability for the final products. The seasonal methane “burps” that we see coming from the ground don’t occur everywhere, but rather are limited in location and duration. This type of testing is often expensive; Fukagawa says a thorough nutritional analysis for a single batch of food can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
But Cho’s team hopes the food-processing methods they developed for the contest are scalable, with the aim of adapting them in some form for communities that have limited access to nutritious food or live in areas especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. If there’s life on Mars, but simply not in the location we’re sampling, we’ll miss it. “Fifteen months into a mission and you’re eating fucking bullshit, what would you need to carry on?” Ad Astra recently ended the first phase of the challenge by submitting its proposal, which includes the conceptual idea, a full deck, and a paper. In September, the Deep Space Challenge organizers will select 20 teams from the U. All possible Martian materials, from sedimentary to igneous rocks, covering all of Mars's geological areas, should be present in some sort of quantity on Phobos.S., 20 from Canada, and 20 others from around the world to move into phase two, along with a $25,000 stipend to create a kitchen demonstration in front of experts. By collecting material from it and returning to Earth, we should get a random sample that provides insight into the planet-wide history of biological and chemical remnants on Mars, shedding light on any ancient life that may have existed there at one point.
Phase three will involve warehouse space to put any prototypes into practice. But Cho was cautious not to get too ahead of himself.. It’s already been a long 18 months dealing not only with the fallout from the pandemic on his business but also coping with a recent fire in White Center that burned down his girlfriend’s under-construction boba shop, which he was helping to build. Ad Astra was a “passion project” that provided him with purpose and prevented him from “going to a dark path. [+] the Mars Curiosity Rover.” The end result may not be clear, but he and the other members involved already feel they’ve accomplished a great deal.
“It’s not a clout or ego thing,” Cho says. However, methane is not present everywhere, indicating that whatever is creating it is at least somewhat localized. “It’s just different — I never thought I’d be involved in something like this.” Sign up for the newsletter Eater Seattle Sign up for our newsletter. First off, just like asteroids Itokawa and Ryugu, Mars’s moon Phobos is low enough in mass that it’s certainly covered in loosely-held rock, rubble, and dust, meaning that the instruments should have little difficulty in collecting the necessary material for a sample return. Thanks for signing up! Check your inbox for a welcome email. Email . Comparatively, a full-scale launch and return from the Martian surface — something never before attempted — is an exciting but risky proposition.