Researchers at Cornell and University of Hawaii are accepting applications for qualified individuals to participate in a four month simulated trip to Mars.
The social media news website Mashable explains that Cornell University and University of Hawaii-Manoa researchers want six people to eat space food and wear spacesuits on a lava flow in Hawaii for 120 days.
“Although, participants won’t actually go to space, the participants will act as if they are on Mars. The researchers will record the participants’ reactions to typical NASA foodstuffs, such as flour, sugar and dried meat.”
Participants will try instant foods, and ones with shelf-stable ingredients, and scientists will record their reactions. The goal of the experiment is to discover what foods people like to consume consistently.
The researchers said that because of microgravity, astronauts eat prepackaged rehydratable or ready-to-consume foods for all their meals. The meals are convenient to prepare and eat in microgravity and hundreds of different foods have been prepared for this purpose by space agencies worldwide.
The study background states:
Humans eating a restricted diet over a period of months ultimately experience “menu fatigue”, also known as food monotony. They tire of eating even foods they normally enjoy, and their overall food intake declines, putting them at risk for nutritional deficiency, loss of bone and muscle mass, and reduced physical capabilities. Moreover, all foods decline in nutritional and eating quality over time, and only a few of the many available astronaut foods have the 3-5 year shelf life required of foods for a Mars mission.
Among other things, applicants are required to have a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, in engineering, biological or physical sciences, mathematics, or computer science. Professional experience (including graduate school) of at least three years beyond the bachelor’s degree. And applicants must be tobacco-free for at least 24 months.
Forbes notes that in addition to the free food, those chosen for the study will be given cooking classes and taught to work in space’s microgravity environment. They will also earn round-trip travel to Hawaii, lodgings and $5,000.
You can apply for the study here. The deadline is FEB 29 2012.