New Delhi: The US space agency NASA (NASA) is most active about manned missions to its far-reaching target Mars. NASA is currently preparing for its Artemis Mission. A major challenge for Mars and its long space missions in front of NASA is to arrange food for Astronaut. NASA has put a challenge before the people to solve this problem. NASA has kept a prize of 5 lakh dollars (5 Million Dollars) for this, about Rs 3.63 crore.
Mars journey is very challenging
Significantly, the distance of Mars from Earth is 114 million kilometers. Many types of plants have been grown in the International Space Station which can be grown and used even during long space travel. But for a planet like Mars, the journey will be far and long where carrying the luggage will increase the weight of the vehicle. In such a situation, the only solution to this big challenge is to develop food production capacity during the journey.
NASA gave the challenge to the people
To overcome this food challenge, NASA has set a challenge for businessmen, college students, amateur investors and others. Gross Douglas, chief scientist of Advanced Food Technology at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, wrote in The Journal of Nutrition by Grace Douglas article in the Journal of Nutrition. The needs of the government also outlined.
Food a major challenge
According to Douglas and his accompanying authors, the most important issue in space would be to sustain life. In human history, explorers have traveled to see what lies ahead of the horizon, but have not actually returned due to diet and nutritional failure. It can take up to two years to go to Mars. For this, carrying food from the earth will not be favorable.
Difficult to cook
In fact, the difficulty in space is that many factors are responsible for the processes on which we depend on cooking on Earth. Such as gravity, atmosphere, atmospheric pressure, and even some microorganisms. In space vehicles, factors such as microgravity, lack of resources, pressure fluctuations of cabin, uncontrolled radiation affect the food preparation process.
Food at the International Space Station
So far, food has been in the space, it was prepared by heating pre-packaged food or adding water to it. When fresh products from the earth are found in it, it becomes edible. But this method will not prove useful for a two-year journey to Mars. Douglas and his companions are looking for a solution that provides safe, sustainable, interesting and reliable food for Mars travelers with the least means, environmental barriers, and less waste. Along with this, all the needs of micro-nutrition of the passengers can also be fulfilled.
Mental health challenge too
Maintaining the mental health of Mars travelers will also be a major challenge for NASA. Dealing with problems arising out of stress, work load, and solitude in such a mission will also be a big challenge for the passengers. Tasty food will not only be enough, it will also require variety.
NASA in search of crowdsourcing solution
To meet this challenge, NASA is exploring a crowdsourcing solution through its Deep Space Food Challenge. NASA has placed a prize of 5 Million Dollars for this. Douglas says that NASA has the necessary information and capability in this field, but NASA wants innovation. People from different fields can suggest best and accurate solutions in this.