NASA’s Mars Training? Aloha Hawaii

James Johnson - Author

Aug. 12 2013, Updated 4:52 a.m. ET

NASA’s Mars training is taking place in Hawaii.

The space agency recently spent $1 million on a “Martian” mission that required the slopes of a Hawaiian volcano.

NASA used the Mauna Loa volcano to stage a four month geodesic-dome “habitat.” Astronauts were forced to live inside their space suits as they walked outside of their domes.

The $1 million Hawaii observation is part of the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) mission funded by NASA’s Human Research Program, the University of Hawaii, and Cornell University.

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The purpose of the mission is to determine how astronauts will cook food when on Mars. Speaking to Astrobiology Magazine HI-SEAS, Commander Angelo Vermeulen revealed: “Some successful meals were Russian borscht, Moroccan tagine, ‘enchilasagna’ [and] seafood chowder.”

Vermeulen added:

“The freeze-dried meat is only really enjoyable when used in meals. In itself it’s too bland and hardly has any aroma.”

The crew’s favorite food was a “slimy” dish called “Kung Fu Chicken.”

The biggest success arrived in the form of dehydrated and freeze-dried vegetables. Because of the need for fruits and veggies, astronauts used those food stuffs in almost every meal they prepared.

Researchers also studied how robotic arms could be used to grow hydroponic food on terrestrial planets.

NASA astronauts also learned what it would be like to walk on Mars soil minus a change in gravity.

With a Mars flight still two decades away, many more “Mars missions” will be planned and executed on terrestrial type terrains.


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