A manned mission to Mars entails plenty of challenges that don’t pertain to a trip to, say, the moon. How will we sustain astronauts for years at a time, both physically and mentally? It takes a lot of creativity to figure out these things, so NASA is holding a contest to produce innovative ideas for feeding astronauts during a deep space mission.
The Deep Space Food Challenge will identify food production technologies that can:
Help fill food gaps for a three-year round-trip mission with no resupply
Feed a crew of four (4) astronauts
Improve the accessibility of food on Earth, in particular, via production directly in urban centers and in remote and harsh environments
Achieve the greatest amount of food output with minimal inputs and minimal waste
Create a variety of palatable, nutritious, and safe foods that requires little processing time for crew members
Yes, there’s money involved. NASA has budgeted $500,000 to split among the top 20 teams. Get an overview of the program at Popular Mechanics. To take part, you must sign up for the Deep Space Food Challenge by May 28. -via Digg