cosmic rays and radiation

HOW NASA IS SOLVING THE SPACE FOOD PROBLEM

1) Packing lunches

Most of the meals are just-add-water, or come ready to eat in pouches. There are also packaged foods an ordinary person could buy from a store, like almonds or wrapped brownies. Hot and cold beverages come in bags with straws, similar to a Capri Sun. Food packets attach to the galley table with velcro patches so they don’t fly away.

2) Getting creative on Mars

NASA wants to load a vessel with food and send it to Mars before the astronauts set off. That means food scientists have to make meals that will stay good for five years.

3) The challenges

Some nutrients break down naturally over time; space radiation — cosmic rays and other forms of radiation that Earth’s atmosphere normally blocks — could be an added problem. Meals must take into account the special challenges to astronauts’ bodies in space, such as weightlessness, shrinking bones, and squashing eyeballs. 

4) Growing crops on the spaceship 

And even on the surface of another planet — could solve several of these problems at once. Astronauts wouldn’t need to lug as much food with them. They’d have fresh produce rich in vitamins. And they could mix up their menus with some of that texture they miss.

5) Keeping astronauts happy and healthy

NASA is studying how the senses of smell and taste change in microgravity and isolation, for example. In one study, researchers are supplying comfort foods and holiday treats to the space station, with astronauts filling out mood questionnaires before and after eating. The crew will also rate solo versus communal meals, as well as the experience of “cooking” the food themselves. 

“At the end of the day, we’re not worried about the muscle cells. We’re worried about the human.“

via Eater.