Countdown: Mars food mission researchers return to Earth

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Talia Ogliore, (808) 956-4531
Public Information Officer, Vice Chancellor for Research
John Carberry or Ellen Leventry, (607) 255-6074
Media Relations Office, Cornell University
Posted: Aug 1, 2013

Crew member Kate Greene outside the HI-SEAS habitat (photo by Sian Proctor)
Crew member Kate Greene outside the HI-SEAS habitat (photo by Sian Proctor)

The countdown has begun.

Six researchers who have spent more than 100 days inside a remote habitat to simulate a long-duration space journey are finally returning to Earth.

About 700 applicants vied for six spots in the HI-SEAS mission, which began in April and will conclude on August 13.  These Earth-based researchers have been living and working like astronauts, including suiting up in space gear whenever they venture outside a simulated Martian base and cooking meals from a specific list of dehydrated and shelf-stable food items.

The HI-SEAS study, led by Cornell University and the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, is analyzing new types of food and novel food preparation strategies to keep astronauts well-nourished for space exploration.  The work is funded by the NASA Human Research Program.

The food study is designed to simulate the living and working experience of astronauts on a real planetary mission and to compare two types of food systems – crew-cooked vs. pre-prepared – as thoroughly as possible in the context of a four-month Mars analog mission

"One possible solution to handle menu fatigue would be to allow astronauts to cook their own food instead of eating pre-prepared food day after day," says crew member Angelo Vermeulen, one of the six researchers inside the HI-SEAS habitat, which is located on the Big Island.

At the end of the study, researchers will announce the winners of the HI-SEAS recipe contest.  Winning recipes in a number of categories will be featured on the HI-SEAS website.

The public is invited to follow along with the "Meals for Mars" videos, researcher blogs, and test recipes featured at or on Twitter (@HI_SEAS) or Facebook.

Note to media: VIDEO AND SOUND AVAILABLE:  For more information on BROLL and soundbites, please contact Talia Ogliore at (808) 956-4531 or Diane Chang at (808) 956-0391.

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