An international scientific team has been created The perfect salad for astronauts – It is nutritionally perfect and contains ingredients that can be grown on a spacecraft. The salad was created with the help of a computer model that was fed data from NASA research on astronauts’ daily nutritional requirements.
The Perfect Space Salad contains a strictly measured amount of soybeans, poppy seeds, barley, kale, peanuts, sweet potatoes, and sunflower seeds. The recipe for it is a joint effort by experts in space pharmacology, agriculture and nutrition from the University of Adelaide and the University of Nottingham. We simulated a mixture of 6-8 plants that provide all the nutrients the astronauts need. Their requirements differ from what people need on Earth. There are dozens of plants that can meet the nutritional needs of astronauts, but we wanted to find the plants that contain the most nutrients, small amounts provide a lot of calories and can be grown in a small space.Professor Volker Hessel explains.
The researchers looked at more than 100 different plants. In the beginning, they chose plants that would provide all the nutrients and the right amount of calories, and to provide them you wouldn’t need to eat more than what people on earth would normally eat. Due to the limitations during space travel, it has also been assumed that the ideal salad cannot consist of more than 10 ingredients, it must be plants suitable for hydroponics in space, the cultivation of which will take up as little space as possible. In addition, the plants should have had minimal fertilization requirements to avoid having to carry a lot of fertilizer on the road. The effect of the salad ingredients on mood was also important, so the color, taste, texture, freshness and aroma of the products were taken into account. Food is an essential component of health and happiness, so there are many factors to considerexplains Xu Liang from the University of Nottingham.
Scientists now want to design a system for long-term space missions in which to grow the ingredients needed to make a space salad.
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