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  • Food in Space

    As the Global Space Organization extends its human reach out into deep space another fundamental concern that awaits us is our food. Caloric requirements for astronauts were created by the National Research Council using a formula for basal energy expenditure (BEE). For women, BEE = 655 + (9.6 x W) + (1.7 x H) - (4.7 x A), and for men, BEE = 66 + (13.7 x W) + (5 x H) - (6.8 x A), where W = weight in kilograms, H = height in centimeters, and A = age in years. In essence, we need to eat an average 2000 calorie a day diet that may be modified due to energy expenditure, height and weight.

    There is more to this base starting point however. Keep in mind as we head out into space we will be concerned with availability, variety and depending on how long food is exposed to radiation, a loss of nutritional content. Also, many see the future of our deep space stations as only growing food crops to sustain us, but living the life of a strict vegetarian may not appeal to the many astronauts the Global Space Organization intends to bring into space. So how do we solve these very real issues?

    Research and testing has been conducted for many years over the various ideas of future food applications for deep space. Most of the research has been dedicated to plants and algae crops, which will allow for sustained food and oxygen production, this makes sense when considering closed loop environmental systems that many researchers hope to achieve. This way of thinking however limits a host of many other options that can and will be available to us...

    A closed-loop system is an environmental system that is closed to outside support, in other words a system that can function on its own and continue to function indefinitely without resupply. NASA has designated most of our near Earth missions as open-loop where resupply is a required function or the mission is of a short duration where resupply is unnecessary.

    GSO plans for our lunar station will employ an open-loop system where resupply will be a required and needed function but at the same time also begin the steps towards researching a closed-loop system though plant and algae growth. In the beginning our massive resupply operations will bring a variety of food to our station which will make our stay comfortable and at the same time bring many new jobs to the marketplace here on Earth. To protect our food shipments specialized lightweight shipping containers will be created to reduce the effects of solar and cosmic radiation that could harm the nutritional values of our food en-route.

    Since the Moon is close enough to Earth for effective resupply, the Moon itself will probably remain an open-loop system but as we venture out further in long-term space vessels or stations on Mars a closed-loop system would become viable but still there are solutions to extending our variety. NASA has already begun research into 3D printing of food along with companies like Organovo. This research will eventually allow many varieties of food to be produced and near future printing machines will probably be very similar to food processors seen in many science fiction shows.

    Though many food sources that we will utilize in space will be vegetable based we must not consider it to be the only source, instead we must keep our minds open to discovering creative options that will continue to keep us safe, healthy and happy on our journey.

    The Global Space Organization is interested in hearing your creative ideas for food in space.

    Global Space Organization | support@gso-space.org
    From the Movie 2001 A Space Odyssey
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