Food Provisioning Considerations for Long Duration Space Missions and Planet Surface Habitation 921415

Food provisioning for long duration space missions and long term planet surface habitation is influenced by many factors. These factors interact with one another and impose requirements on other subsystems within a space vehicle or planet surface habitat. The emphasis behind an effective food provisioning program is to maintain the psychological and physiological well-being of the crew over the entire mission duration. Human behavior is influenced by the quality, quantity and type of systems and activities found in a person's environment. The environment found in long duration space missions is very forbidding, hostile and highly stressful for humans over long periods of time. Environmental conditions associated with long duration space missions are: confinement in close quarters, restricted activity, minimal diversification and variation in everyday routines, immediate danger from the environment, long term exposure to radiation, long term exposure to microgravity and/or partial gravity, isolation from family and friends, extensive reliance on equipment and environmental systems for survival, circadian shifting, monotony of tactile and temperature sensations, monotony of olfactory and gustatory experiences, and constant exposure to background noise. Food provisioning will play a major role in maintaining humans in this isolated and confined environment.
Other factors involved in developing a food provisioning program are: menu cycle, food variety, food palatability, food quality (including flavor, texture, odor and appearance), the type of food preservation methods utilized in the system and the impact of using one particular method in a proportionally greater amount than the other methods available, food safety, ensuring that the nutritional requirements for a microgravity and/or partial gravity environment are met, self-selection, accommodating cultural differences, individual versus bulk feeding, degree of meal preparation required and combining in-situ food products with an Earth-supplied food system (degree of self sufficiency).


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