“On the outpost of Moon as well as Mars, it is very likely we will grow vegetables and fruits, and then we’ll have a real galley because you’ve got 1/6th gravity for Moon or 3/8th gravity for Mars so you can actually prepare foods and not be eating out of packages all the time. So we will look at stir fry with the vegetables with packaged meat or something [like that]. We’ll also start looking at bringing up in bulk items like wheat berries or soy beans and then processing those into editable ingredients, like with the wheat berries we’d make wheat flour and then we’d be able to do pasta or cereal or breads. The soy we might make into a meat analog or soy bean oil or tofu. So we’d be doing that kind of work also.” (Michele Perchonok, NASA’s manager of the Space Food Systems Laboratory)
At the beginning of the space era, food was not an issue. Permanence out there was simply too short. As flights got longer, the need for pre-packed meals required some ad hoc cuisine, for example toothpaste-like squeeze tubes and vacuum-proof single serving rations. For various reasons, they were referred to as Tang. Things have gone a long way since then, and now astronauts in the International Space Station can even enjoy their Thanksgiving turkey, no more, no less. Here are some other ISS tasty choices!
“We’re going to try to remain as true to the original recipe as possible but until we actually [freeze-dry] it, we won’t know exactly how much modification we have to make. It’s going to be a kind of trial and error thing.” (Vickie Kloeris, NASA’s Chef for the International Space Station)
There are already a few experiments to simulate the experience of cooking on Mars, like the ones carried out by the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS), where six people, for around four months, simulated how it would be living on a Martian colony. The Meals for Mars series was a great part of the HI-SEAS mission, with some surprising recipes as a result. They concluded that fundamental ingredients for any Martian colonies will be “spices, herbs and hot sauce. But also comfort food such as Nutella, peanut butter and margarine. And then enough ingredients rich in fibers.” Have a good meal!