Discover the ideal meal for long-term space missions. Between the constraints of space cultures and human nutritional needs, here is the perfect dish for tomorrow's astronauts.
Feeding astronauts during their stays in space is becoming a real headache for space agencies. Indeed, future space missions will be longer and further away, which will make regular resupply impossible. À In the future, astronauts will need to be fed with food. cultures grown in space. Experimental cultures are also being carried out in the international space station. Scientists have questioned these future space menus and have ;eacute;developedé the ideal meal for the astronauts of tomorrow. Published in the journal ACS Food Science & Technology in December 2023, their study reveals that this perfect meal would be… a vegetarian salad!
To achieve à To reach this conclusion, scientists based themselves on the nutritional needs of astronauts, which differ slightly from those of an adult on Earth. because of their activity physics and the absence of gravity who put their bones à tough test. But the researchers did not stop there. They also took into account additional parameters linked to the constraints of cultivation in space. For example, it is imperative to find plants whose growth does not require too much water, which will be a limiting resource in space colonies.
Vegetable crops installed at aboard the international space station to study their growth in microgravity © NASA/Cover Images/SIPA (published 01/17/2024)
The area of space farms should also be considered and the plants grown should take up as little space as possible. Finally, the majority Some plants are partially edible. The researchers thus took into account the recyclability of the material. inedible elements in order to minimize waste and optimize the yields of future space crops which will constitute real larders for astronauts.
By combining all these constraints as well as human physiological needs, the team of scientists imagined: a perfect recipe that would keep astronauts in great shape while offering a tasty dish. The psychological dimension of astronauts has also been explored. worked to keep their morale high. For this, the appearance of the dish was modified. éstudyé thanks to the colors, tastes and textures of the elements that compose it. The salad thus prepared is composed of soybeans, poppy seeds, kale, sunflower seeds and sweet potato. Enough to change from the freeze-dried dishes that astronauts are accustomed to during their missions!