Latest news reported that the food for astronauts on their way to Mars is very important as it enables a successful mission. According to NASA, one day astronauts will be able to land on Mars. After over 50 years of human spaceflight, little is known about the diet of astronauts on their way to space.
As NASA experts explained, a balanced diet is fundamental for space exploration. Grace Douglas, food researcher at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, explained that many who traveled in the Age of Sail died from the lack of Vitamin C. The Age of Sail is known as a period associated with early modern period of sailing ships.
Any future voyage from Earth and Mars is said to be lengthy. The distance between the planets is almost 140 million miles, which means 5,625 times the Earth’s circumference. A trip from Earth to Mars which includes a 20-month stay on Mars is likely to take almost three years. Zara Swart, another food expert, said:
‘One of our goals is to optimize nutrition to mitigate the negative effects of spaceflight, such as bone and muscle loss, radiation damage, changes in immune function, and changes to other physiological systems’.
To find a proper diet for astronauts during long spaceflights, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine reassessed the NASA information about the health risks of space travel. The re-evaluation results showed there are still various uncertainties concerning the best nutritional programs for long-term space travel.
Moreover, it was discovered that in some cases NASA exaggerated the advantages of certain nutrients and the risk of some nutrient insufficiency. The review found that nutritional additives might aid astronauts to prevent serious deficiencies. However, Zwart states that nutrients are likely to deteriorate faster in supplements than they do in actual food. In addition, it was proved that nutrients from supplements are not as strong as the whole food.
At the moment, Zwart and her colleagues are trying to include the nutrients in a variety of foods rather than any other supplements. The only additive received on a regular basis by the astronauts is Vitamin D. They are given this vitamin because they don’t have access to natural light. Experts’ opinion is that space agriculture might be one viable solution. Nonetheless, this method has its own difficulties and risks.
They added the movie The Martian showed them the real challenge of growing food in space. Experts believe the movie, as fictitious as it may be, gave them new hope for improved opportunities. Nonetheless, providing food for astronauts on their way to Mars remains an idea that needs further research.
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