Advanced Life Support Food Subsystem Salad Crops Requirements 2002-01-2477
As the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) begins to look towards longer duration space flights, the importance of fresh foods and varied menu choices increases. Long duration space missions require development of both a Transit Food System and a Lunar or Planetary Food System. These two systems are intrinsically different since the first one will be utilized in the transit vehicle in microgravity conditions while the second will be used in conditions of partial gravity (hypogravity). The Transit Food System will consist of prepackaged food of extended shelf life. Microgravity imposes significant limitations on the ability of the crew to handle food and allows only for minimal processing.
Salad crops will be available for the planetary mission. Supplementing the transit food system with salad crops is also being considered. These crops will include carrots, tomatoes, lettuce, radish, spinach, chard, cabbage, and onion. The crops will be incorporated in the menu along with the prepackaged food. The fresh tasting salad crops will provide variety, texture, and color in the menu. This variety should provide increased psychological benefit.
Preliminary studies on spinach, tomatoes, and bok choy have been completed. Sensory and analytical tests, including color and moisture were conducted on the chamber grown crops and compared to store bought spinach, tomatoes, and bok choy. Preliminary studies of the appropriate serving sizes and number of servings per week have also been conducted.