Outer space is just getting more and more appetizing!
In an effort to help reduce the amount of supplies that the Orion spacecraft will have to carry for its crew members, scientists have started to develop a variety of different food bars that astronauts can munch on for a satisfying and tasty breakfast when they have early spaceflight missions to go on.
However, NASA faces a few challenges when it comes to concocting the perfect food for astronauts. For one thing, the nutritional balance of the foods that astronauts consume has to be pretty specific. Also, the caloric density of the bars has to be significant enough to sustain the crew members. And lastly (but definitely importantly), the thing has to be tasty.
It's not that astronauts going into outer space don't typically have a big variety of meal choices; it's just that deep space missions require a different set of food criteria.
"Orion has limited room inside it to accommodate the supplies and food astronauts will need during their missions. Because flights to deep space will not rely on resupply spacecraft to deliver what astronauts need and dispose of trash, the Orion crew will have to take everything they need with them and bring it all back home. Given the distances Orion will travel, teams also must limit Orion’s mass, since a heavier spacecraft requires more fuel and energy to propel it to its ultimate destination," NASA explains on its website.
Food scientist Takiyah Sirmons and Orion's deputy health and medical technical authority, Jessica Vos, explain how food bars are being developed that fit all the criteria for the Orion trip.
"There’s no commercially-available bar right now that meets our needs, so we’ve had to go design something that will work for the crew, while trying to achieve a multi-year shelf-life," explains Sirmons on the NASA site.
For now, the goal is to produce "a number of food bars to select from in a variety of flavors like orange cranberry or barbeque nut for their first meal of the day, reducing the amount of space and storage the breakfasts require."
Check out this YouTube video of Sirmons and Vos explaining the bars (below):