NASA is seeking ideas to support the health and nutrition of its astronauts as a part of the 2024 Mission to the Moon program, and a planned 8-day lunar Human Lander System (HLS) mission within the program. The team is looking for a broad range of foods and food systems that are commercially available, FDA (or equivalent) approved, and satisfy NASA’s balanced nutrition and dietary requirements for astronauts.

Background

As NASA prepares to send humans to the moon in 2024 for the first time since the Apollo missions, they are looking to explore new and suitable food systems for an 8-day lunar Human Lander System (HLS) mission. The astronauts will be engaged in activities and dealing with extreme environmental conditions, with minimal time and equipment for meal preparation and consumption. NASA intends to create 8-day menus with palatable foods for a balanced and diverse diet to support these missions. Due to the limitations of environmental conditions in space, food must meet a variety of specifications such as low packaging and waste, long shelf-life, low mass and volume, and require minimal preparations amongst other constraints.  NASA health and medical authorities have initiated this project to ensure the food and food systems served during the program secure the health and nutritional safety of astronauts during these activities.

Solutions Must Have

  • FDA (or equivalent) approval and be safe for human consumption
  • Palatability
  • Meals able to be consumed in 30-minute period; likely only two meals per day on EVA days
  • Low mass and volume
  • Low overhead packaging and low waste
  • Commercially available
  • Long shelf-life (18 months minimum)
  • Minimal preparations needed prior to consumption

 

Possible Solution Areas

  • Technologies identified could range from specific foods and ingredients to entire food system ideas
  • Protein/energy bars
  • Dehydrated foods
  • Foods for expeditions, athletes
  • Meal replacements
  • Integrated food systems to create balanced meals

 

Desired Outcome of the Solution

Balanced, healthy and nutritious 8-day meal plans for astronauts involved in HLS that NASA can purchase off-the-shelf.

 

Field of use and intended applications

NASA food systems planning and guide for astronaut taste testing in their food lab in preparation of the 2024 Mission to the Moon program.

 

Previously Attempted Solutions

Prior missions such as the Apollo missions had food plans for 11 days for which food was vacuum sealed and freeze-dried.