Browse Publications Technical Papers 2001-01-2322
2001-07-09

Food Processing Systems For Long-Term Planetary Missions: The Design of A Prototype for Soy Processing 2001-01-2322

In preparation for a future manned mission to Mars, food-processing systems are being developed for use during the anticipated 18-month stay on the planet’s surface. Design of these prototypes address the special needs of a self-contained environment necessary to support the crew during the long-term mission. This self-contained environment will be a bio-regenerative life support system, dubbed BIO-Plex, and will house the crew and all appurtenant life support and scientific research equipment.
Designs of food processing systems in such an environment address limited space requirements, minimal energy and water use, minimal waste stream generation, low equipment weight, limited crew task time, and high-quality food production which satiates the nutritional and psychological needs of the crew. Additionally, the system must function in a 0.3g - environment.
First generation prototypes have been developed to process exotic crop cultivars of wheat and soy to be grown within the BIO-Plex during the surface stay. Two prototype systems have been designed to process soybeans, while a third system will process wheat.
This paper addresses the first prototype, a compact, highly automated system that produces soymilk, tofu, okara, and whey (STOW Processor) from raw soybeans. The system can produce soymilk by various methods and can produce various styles of tofu.

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