While space travel is one intimidating frontier for human kind, space cooking and dieting is another challenge becoming more and more real as Nasa draws plans for man to live, work and conduct research on the red planet—which has notable differences in atmospheric conditions, to say the least. But the futuristic foods researchers have been experimenting with are surprisingly very earth-like. 

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At the dawn of launching man to space, NASA has hired food specialists to begin experimenting and testing food that will be used for future long term space missions from Earth to Mars and for the inhabitant homes on the surface of Mars. 

Susanna Mostaghim

What can be grown on the red planet?

On March 19 2016,  researchers from the Wageningen University & Research centre in the Netherlands ran an experiment to see if ten common earth crops could be grown under like-martian conditions. 

These ideal crops would serve as direct sources for astronauts to intake the essential supplements the human body needs on a regular basis to take in.

The result was that they managed to have 10 crops that included tomato, rye, radish, pea, leek, spinach, garden rocket, cress, quinoa, and chives. (But unfortunately the study neglected to account for other major effects that the red planet's atmosphere has on food.) 

Susanna Mostaghim

For future pioneers that will venture into the universe, these simple recipes will have to be appetizing enough and they'll have to manage the problem of limited resources for growing their own food.

On the red planet, astronauts will be limited to growing only rice, onions, tomatoes, soya, potatoes, spinach, wheat and the blue-green algae spirulina.

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Who is conducting the food research and what recipes have they cooked up?

Two french companies that NASA hired, the ADF (Alain Ducasse Foundation) and GEM, created 11 tasty recipes to help ease the challenges of eating in space and foreign planet inhabitation.

Three of these recipes included "martian bread" with green tomato jam, spirulina gnocchis and tomato mille-feuilles. The recipes were to contain 40% of grown ingredients and 60% of various seasonings such as salt, olive oil, pepper. 

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What cooking challenges will astronauts face on the red planet? 

To coordinate with the challenges of living in a small hospitable inhabitat, astronauts must adapt their methods of cooking to non-earth like conditions.

According to Popular Science, martian food needs to have a shelf life of at least one year and cooking methods such as deep frying can't even be considered as they would interfere with the earth-like inhabitant sections on the dusty red surface. Other dishes astronauts can look forward to will be freeze dried foods—like pizza, for example.

"Martian food" and "space food" are still being developed but for now, future astronauts with a ticket to the red planet have a few tasty treats they can look forward to.