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Technical Paper

Food System Trade Study for an Early Mars Mission

In preparation for future planetary exploration, the Bioregenerative Planetary Life Support Systems Test Complex (BIO-Plex) is currently being built at the NASA Johnson Space Center. The BIO-Plex facility will allow for closed chamber Earth-based tests. Various prepackaged food systems are being considered for the first 120-day BIO-Plex test. These food systems will be based on the Shuttle Training Menu and the International Space Station (ISS) Assembly Complete food systems. This paper evaluates several prepackaged food system options for the surface portion of an early Mars mission, based on plans for the first BIO-Plex test. The five systems considered are listed in Table 1. The food system options are assessed using equivalent system mass (ESM), which evaluates each option based upon the mass, volume, power, cooling and crewtime requirements.