Astronauts aboard the International Space Station have over 200 food items choose from, thanks to constant resupply missions and ample storage. Those travelling on future Orion missions will have limited space though, resulting in different food requirements.
To that end, NASA has been working on the most important meal of the day, in the form of breakfast bars for future crews.
“Because flights to deep space will not rely on resupply spacecraft to deliver what astronauts need and dispose of trash, the Orion crew will have to take everything they need with them and bring it all back home,” the space agency explained.
“Given the distances Orion will travel, teams also must limit Orion’s mass, since a heavier spacecraft requires more fuel and energy to propel it to its ultimate destination.”
According to NASA, the Orion spacecraft will be “built to take humans farther than they’ve ever gone before”, this includes eventual trips to Mars. At present, the first mission simply aims to loop the Earth twice before returning to ground.
NASA said that the goal for the missions was to have a variety of food bar flavours, with orange cranberry, barbecue nut, banana nut and ginger vanilla scheduled to go aboard the spacecraft. But lunch and dinner will see astronauts having similar meals to space station crews.
Unfortunately, commercial food bars don’t quite meet health requirements, forcing the scientists to create their own bars that have a long shelf life.
The Orion spacecraft presents several challenges when it comes to food storage
NASA is also working on “regenerative” ways to feed the crews, such as growing vegetables in space.
The space agency expects the first manned Orion launch to take place in 2021.