Food Service and Food System Logistics at the South Pole: Lessons for a Lunar/Martian Planetary Surface Mission 2003-01-2365
Three distinct food system paradigms have been envisioned for long-term space missions. The Skylab, Mir and ISS food systems were based on single-serving prepackaged foods, ready to rehydrate and heat. Bioregenerative food systems, derived from crops grown and processed at the planetary station, have been studied at JSC and KSC. The US Antarctic Program’s Amundsen-Scott South Pole Base uses the third paradigm: bulk packaged food ingredients delivered once a year and used to prepare meals on the station. The packaged food ingredients are supplemented with limited amounts of fresh foods received occasionally during the Antarctic summer, trace amounts of herb and salad crops from the hydroponic garden, and some prepackaged ready to eat foods, so the Pole system is actually a hybrid system; however, it is worth studying as a bulk packaged food system because of the preponderance of bulk packaged food ingredients used.
This paper reviews the operation of the South Pole food system, including nutritional goals, menu planning, logistics, waste management and human factors, as a space mission analog. The food waste mass, preparation and cleanup labor requirements and water usage of this system are reported and compared to current data for Shuttle/ISS and the best current estimates for fully bioregenerative systems. The paper concludes with a discussion of the lessons learned from this food service operation and how they can inform the design of a future lunar or planetary base.