back to article NASA seeks cooks for Mars trip simulation

NASA is looking for volunteers to prepare foods during a simulated Mars mission that will see six lucky people locked in close proximity for 120 days. Researchers from the University of Hawaii and Cornell University are looking for volunteers for the simulation, dubbed the Hawaii Space Exploration Analogue & Simulation (HI- …


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  1. jake Silver badge

    No beans? I'd DIE!

    Seriously, there isn't any food as flexible as beans & lentils. They store well, and along with rice form a complete protein.

    Me, I add a little epazote to the beans when cooking. Adds flavo(u)r and cuts[1] the flatulence. It could be grown on board (it is a weed, after all), but it stores well when dried. I just checked some I dried about six and a half years ago, and it's still fairly pungent.

    No, I'm not vegan or vegetarian; I love a good rare steak ... but given the choice of freeze-dried animal protein or beans, I'll take the beans, TYVM.

    Living without cabbage would be a trifle easier, but still not fun.

    [1] Pun intended ;-)

  2. Jdoe1

    Who needs cooks?

    NASA should consult Peter Skyllberg of Sweden who survived close to 60 days trapped in a car in freezing temperatures eating nothing but snow. Limited hibernation may be the way to go.

  3. Rocketman

    Where do I apply

    I totally qualify for this job. You didn't mention how much it paid?

    1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

      Re: Where do I apply

      So do I. But, I'd only be interested if I selected the other crew members.

      1. Crisp

        Re: Re: Where do I apply

        Even if you got to select smoking hot crew members with fantastic personalities, after 120 days you'd be sick of the sight of them.

    2. Bill Posters

      Re: Where do I apply

      I think the pay rates are summed up in the word 'Volunteer.'

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. kbinsted

      Re: Where do I apply

      Pays $5000 plus expenses:

  4. Winkypop Silver badge

    It lasts and lasts......and is almost indestructable

    Pot Noodle*

    * May not qualify as "food" though.

  5. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge


    " will only leave the capsule when wearing a space suit" ..... "a valid driver’s license is considered desirable."

    Should be an interesting picture !

    1. Yag

      Re: Erm

      well, the "Household cooking experience is considered desirable." is also puzzling...

      Shouldn't it be one of the primary requirement?

  6. Bassey

    Wrong approach

    Rather than complicating things by trying to provide interesting and varied menus just employ the right astronauts. They already test for everything else so why not just make sure the Astronauts are fine with eating the same bland food ad infinitum. I have porridge for breakfast, a ham & lettuce sandwich with an apple and orange for lunch every day and have done for many, many years. I have no sense of smell so food all tastes much of a muchness. I eat for nutrition and by having the same thing every day I don't need to spend time thinking about what I'll eat.

    If NASA just employed a bunch of freaks like me (or, better still, employed me) they could save a fortune on all this R&D.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wrong approach

      That reminds me. My brother has lives off of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. He always had the strangest smelling farts. NASA should consider pollution free foods.

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Wrong approach

      > employ the right astronauts

      Oh, I thought you meant hire some of those irritating TV cooks & send them to Mars for 6 months..

      1. IglooDude
        Thumb Up

        Re: Re: Wrong approach

        Sans food, ideally.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wrong approach

      Close to the right idea but I suspect the best approach would be to give a somewhat less varied menu for six days then concentrate on having something interesting for the seventh. Sunday lunch would become an important bonding exercise as well as a meal to look forward to and it would guarantee the cook would receive a proper level of appreciation too!

  7. Bernard Lyons

    Sounds like a job for Jamie.

    1. The Equestrian

      More like

      a job for Heston - imagine snail porridge every day!

      1. Wize

        Re: More like

        Maybe we can stick both in there and fire it at Mars.

  8. Jonathan Richards 1

    Togher requirements

    The requirements list is considerably longer than El Reg's summary. This is the one that consigns my application to the bin:

    > No history of upper airway surgery, rhinoplasty, chronic rhinitis or chronic sinusitis

    I'm in agreement with an earlier poster. Anosmia FTW!

  9. Martin Budden

    Have they considered Soylent Green?

    Work out the calorific value in one human. Work out the daily calorie requirements of one human. Decide how many humans you need remaining upon arrival at destination. Now solve equation to find out how many humans you need to start the journey with. (You'll need to take into account the early calorie requirements of those who will later provide calories to others).

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Have they considered Soylent Green?

      Too heavy. Live humans are mostly water.

      Besides, there is the issue of feeding the humans kept as cattle.

      Never mind the ethics & ethos involved ...

      1. Mike Flugennock

        Re: Re: Have they considered Soylent Green?

        "The title -- 'To Serve Man'...

        Frank!!! It's a COOKBOOK!!!"

  10. Mike Flugennock

    A chef picking out the meals...?

    Wow, I just had a thought... who's the chef going to be for that job? I was just thinking... they ought to try and get Gordon Ramsay...

  11. Captain DaFt

    Maybe I'm wrong

    But doesn't the whole thing have precedents, which have already solved most of the problem? Nuclear subs go out on patrols lasting up to two years, and the Navy has long since sorted out how to store and prepare food during these missions. Surely if NASA asked nicely, they'd share the information? ... Or even cooks?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Maybe I'm wrong

      You are wrong.

      Boats have large quantities of "fresh" stores when they set out, and they know how to make them last for a year or 18 months. Sub crews eat better than the rest of the Navy.

      Space crews use mostly dried food, for mass reasons. On the Subs, fresh food is a part of the ballast. The boats actually take on water as the food reserves are eaten.

      And it's not the same style of cooking. At all. NASA'd be better off talking to old-school chuck wagon cooks than the fine folks running the galleys in the nations Sub Fleet.

  12. John 62


    surely the waste gases can be used as fuel for the engines

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