Here’s the good news: We’re going to Mars!
Here’s the bad news: Food is too heavy!
In 2021, NASA plans to launch the Orion spacecraft on a six-month journey to the Red Planet. That will require a lot of heavy, heavy fuel, meaning scientists are currently looking for ways to shed extra weight from the spacecraft. One such way, according to NASA, is to swap in lightweight “food bars” in place of traditional meals.
Jessica Vos, deputy health and medical technical authority for Orion, says, “When you have 700 to 900 calories of something, it’s going to have some mass regardless of what shape it’s in. So we’ve taken a look at how to get some mass savings by reducing how we’re packaging and stowing what the crew would eat for breakfast for early Orion flights with crew.”
Since Snickers are too heavy, apparently, NASA food scientists are creating their own bar: a lightweight, calorie-dense snack that can also “achieve a multi-year shelf-life.” So far, the results look like a Kashi bar got the flu. Luckily, the bars are only for breakfast; for other meals, the crew will enjoy a panoply of food options similar to what astronauts enjoy on the International Space Station. (Like astronaut ice cream, hopefully, because that shit is delicious!)
Despite offering a variety of flavors, including orange cranberry and barbecue nut, NASA is still worried the bars may “lower crew morale,” which is why they’re also experimenting with “a vegetable production system like the one on the space station as well as other types of packaged foods.” May we suggest potato chips?