Students will use produce that could be grown on Mars to create meals for astronauts.
As part of an initiative called the Green Cuisine Challenge, students chosen from school districts in Miami, FL will prepare vegan meals for visiting NASA astronauts. The competition—called “The Voyages of Plants”—is inspired by the recent Matt Damon film The Martian and is based on the idea that astronauts will be able to grow certain plants on longer journeys to Mars in the future. Students were given a list of items that would potentially grow on The Red Planet and then asked to create dishes that would provide astronauts with the most caloric density per square centimeter of growing space within the parameters of the zero gravity space station. Program manager Marion Litzinger said, “We received some fantastic recipes that students either developed on their own or changed from traditional ones.” On the other side of the world, The Mars Food Project in the Netherlands has successfully grown foods such as tomatoes, quinoa, spinach, and rye on simulated Martian soil. Lead ecologist Doctor Wieger Wamelink revealed that their plan does not involve raising animals for food on Mars, which means that every conceptualization of human life on The Red Planet is decidedly vegan.