Life can be very tough for individuals such as astronauts, soldiers, and pilots working and living in extreme environments. Due to the extreme conditions in space, cooking it can be out of the question. This is why many food scientists are working to create and optimize food for such individuals, so they can keep themselves healthy and energetic.
Scientists state that the food needs to contain all essential nutrients, should be lightweight, and most importantly stable for years depending on the time and location of the mission. The ‘survival takeout’ should be easy to store and transport.
An example of such meal is the prepackaged Meal Ready to Eat (MRE), which contains 1,300 calories and weighs approximately 1.5 pounds. It is also shelf stable for three years. The National Air and Space Program (NASA) has taken the challenge and has started to create a viable food program by 2030 that will be able to feed a six people team of astronauts for more than three years in space.
(NASA) says that there is a dire need to provide nutrition to astronauts for their special flight and space requirements. Other than food, the astronauts would also need to hydrate themselves, which is why beverages are to be optimized to withstand high pressures and to remain stable for long years.
These prepackaged food items should be able to support half a dozen astronauts on another planet for approximately 1,095 days. For any space trip of this duration, the astronauts will require 12,023 kilograms of food. NASA and various food scientist organizations are also working on making these prepackaged foods delicious, so the astronauts do not complain about the taste.
Till then, a solution comes in the form of meal replacements that are rich in protein, vitamins, and nutrients that have a long shelf life and are easy to transport. Choosing a protein-rich meal replacement might be a good decision to help the astronauts going for a mission on Mars and for individuals working in extreme environments.