When in space, a regular breakfast or meal just won’t do the trick. So obviously there needs to be space friendly food that the astronauts can consume without going hungry on their long space missions. That’s where the NASA food scientists come in. They’ve developed lightweight food called a ‘food bar’ that the astronauts will be able to eat for breakfast every morning while on missions.
According to Mashable, NASA astronauts have a variety of good tasting food options for breakfasts and other meals on the International Space Station. But if the crews start flying to Mars or the moon, that variety won’t be viable. The agency’s Orion capsule which is designed to take astronauts to and from Mars has a limited amount of room on board. Heavier spacecraft need more propellant and are more difficult to launch into space. Which is where the food bars come in.
They have created four bars – banana nut, orange cranberry, ginger vanilla and barbeque nut – that can be used as meal replacements for astronauts on a journey to orbit the moon or even make the journey to Mars. “When you have 700 to 900 calories of something, it’s going to have some mass regardless of what shape it’s in, so we’ve taken a look at how to get some mass savings by reducing how we’re packaging and stowing what the crew would eat for breakfast for early Orion flights with crew,” Jessica Vos, deputy health and medical technical authority for Orion said in a statement, “When you think about multi-week missions in Orion, having just one package for breakfast items for crew will help us limit the space we need to store them.”
Random fact, did you know that when Tang was developed, NASA flew it to space for the first time in 1962 when John Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth? Thanks to Tang, astronauts on the Space Station still use powdered drinks today.
“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,” said Takiyah Sirmons, a food scientist at NASA, said in the statement.
But they’re also keeping in mind that crew morale and how often the astronauts can eat these bars on long trips. Like any situation, when away from home, eating something that brings comfort helps boost morale and mood and that is a huge deal, especially for astronauts. These bars will also add a nutritional value to their diet, which will provide the astronaut with a balance of what they need in their diets and their day-to-day survival.