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Making dinner on 'Mars'

NEED TO KNOW
  • Universities looking for volunteers to pretend to be on Mars for 120 days
  • Mission: Make martian meals
  • Applications due Feb. 29, 2012
Making dinner on 'Mars'

Hungry for adventure?

Someday we will send humans to Mars.  And due to a serious shortage of drive-thru’s there (which is weird when you consider how many vehicles we’ve sent) those humans will have to bring all their food with them and cook it.

To find out if that would be possible, or even tolerable, Cornell University and the University of Hawaii are looking for some foodstonauts to fly to Hawaii and pretend they are on Mars for about four months. And YOU could be one of them … if you meet the (pretty long list of) requirements. 

They include:
- Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, in engineering, biological or physical sciences, mathematics, or computer science.
- Ability to pass a class 2 flight physical examination
- Willingness and ability to eat a wide range of foods
- Strong interest in human space exploration
- Normal sense of taste and smell

Also desirable:
- Body mass index between 19 and 25.
- Age between 21 and 65

Here’s what they’re trying to work out: “The labor required per person-meal varies with the size of the crew, the number of foods prepared and the equipment and ingredients available, but little is known about the break-even point in crew size, at which cooking would become more labor-efficient than eating instant foods out of individual packages.” Basically, should they “cook” or just reheat pre-packaged meals. 

You’ll be testing cooking techniques, trying possible space-foods, and battling what experimenters call “menu fatigue.” A serious problem that affects astronauts and other people who live with limited resources which can lead people to stop enjoying even their favorite foods.  And if they don’t like the grub, they’re not going to eat enough, their bodies will get weaker, and they’ll be less able to do all the stuff they’ll need to do on Mars (which one can only assume will include picking up a lot of red rocks). 

You can get the application form here … but hurry. If you want to be Top Chef on a simulated Mars you’ll have to email it by February 29.  Oh yeah ... for people who complete the mission ... there's $5,000 (plus some other perks) waiting for you when you "get back to Earth."


 

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