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Astronaut Food Systems

Published onFeb 24, 2021
Astronaut Food Systems

Analysis for topic area:


1. Maya Cooper, Grace Douglas, Michele Perchonok. (2011). Developing the NASA Food System for Long‐Duration Missions. Journal of Food Science. Vol. 76, Nr. 2, 2011 p40-48. (Link)

2. Narumi T., Nishizaka S., Kajinami T., Tanikawa T., Hirose M. (2011) Meta Cookie+: An Illusion-Based Gustatory Display. In: Shumaker R. (eds) Virtual and Mixed Reality - New Trends. VMR 2011. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 6773. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. (Link)

Topics: Astronaut Food Systems

1. Scientific Rationale

1-1. Major questions or inquiries that need to be addressed in support of this topic.

Astronauts need hearty nutrients to maintain a healthy diet in space. However, even though significant development has transformed the space food system over the last 5 decades, the advances do not meet the need for crews that might travel to Mars and beyond.

1-2. How this area of research enhances or enables the goal of sustainable lunar infrastructure development.

Failure to provide the appropriate food or to optimize resource utilization introduces the risk that

an inadequate food system will hamper mission success and/or threaten crew performance.

Failure to provide the appropriate food system will hamper mission success and/or threaten crew performance.

1-3. Challenges in this research area, especially in technology development, or precursor missions needed to enable technology development.

(1) Nutrient-dense, shelf stable foods that meet overall sensory acceptability metrics;

(2) shelf stable menu items with at least a 5-y shelf life;

(3) partial gravity cooking processes with minimization of microbial risk;

(4) sustained vitamin delivery in shelf stable foods;

(5) a packaging material that meets high-barrier, low-mass, and process-compatibility constraints.

  1. Technology Analysis: which proposals/missions address this knowledge gap? Briefly describe:

2-1. Mission/technology demonstration objective

The Deep Space Food Challenge (Link) aims to provide a sustainable and innovative food system for astronauts heading to Mars and more distant regions. This is a project that just started in January of this year, so we were not able to find out what projects had applied for this. Therefore, I surveyed the research that could be applied for this. This research is intended to change the taste of food with devices. All that is needed is the flavoring, so it can be dried, packaged and taken with astronauts.

2-2. Instruments, Design (approach to withstand the harsh lunar environment)

Macintosh HD:Users:makinoyuuya:Downloads:LUNA1.png

Fig1.Camera & Head Mount Display

Macintosh HD:Users:makinoyuuya:Downloads:LUNA2.png

Fig2.Device that sprays fragrance

Fig1: Use the camera to capture the food. The head-mounted display will recognize the food and present different types of food. At the moment they are trying to make ordinary cookies look like chocolate cookies.

Fig2: Air is blown into the bottle containing the fragrance, and the smell is sent to the nose.

It can improve dietary habits on the lunar surface without the use of complicated devices, and maintain the physical and mental health of the crew.

  1. Technology Readiness Level Assessment:

This technology is basically at the stage of how to apply existing technology to prove a new concept. I believe that the ability to apply this technology to a large number of foods and beverages will make the difference between success and failure in the future. Therefore, the TRL stage is 2.

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