Yes, Mars

Well, mock Mars. On the side of a volcano in Hawaii. I am officially a member of the in-habitat crew for the HI-SEAS analog Mars Mission in 2013. Here’s an excerpt from the L.A. Times take on it:

Thursday’s announcement came from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and Cornell University, which selected the crew from more than 700 applicants. Nine people took part in an intense testing and training session in June, with six chosen for the mission and the three others serving as the reserve crew.

Their mission, called HI-SEAS — for Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation — is to figure out how to make food and what foods will taste good enough to take on long missions.

Even though plenty of earthbound people eat Rice Krispies every morning for years on end, things are different in space. Menu fatigue is a major challenge, said Jean Hunter, associate professor of biological and environmental engineering at Cornell.

Over time, astronauts tire of foods they normally like and they tend to eat less, and that can mean a risk of nutritional deficiencies and loss of bone and muscle mass. The HI-SEAS mission will test whether the situation improves if crews cook for themselves.

The team also will compare the taste of the instant foods now available with their own “space-made” dishes. They’ll track the time, power and water needed to cook and clean up for instant foods vs. the foods they make. They’ll come up with recipes, too.

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