Researchers at Washington State University have made it possible to carry ready-to-eat macaroni and cheese to Mars. They have come up with a new packaging method that will triple the life of the food content inside it.
“We need a better barrier to keep oxygen away from the food and provide longer shelf-life similar to aluminum foil and plastic laminate pouches. We’ve always been thinking of developing a product that can go to Mars, but with technology that can also benefit consumers here on Earth.”, said Shyam Sablani, lead researcher in the project.
The food packed inside these new packages will be sterilized using a process called “microwave-assisted thermal sterilization”. After this, the food will be fit for consumption for three years. Cool, right?
A trip to Mars from Earth will take approximately nine months. The researchers claim that NASA is aware of their efforts. “NASA knows about our work, but we’re just now getting to the point where we can talk to them with a proven product. We hope to work out a way to test these products on the International Space Station in the future to show that the food is safe after long-term storage.”, explained Sablani.
In case you’re wondering, you actually don’t have to wait for years to test if it will withstand and stay fresh. Instead, the process can be simulated by keeping the packaged food in a 100-degree Fahrenheit incubator. The researchers claim to have tested this theory with a color-based measurement system using mashed potatoes.
So, what are your thoughts on this new development? Will you be interested in a Mars trip if you were offered Mac and Cheese throughout the journey? Tell us in the comments section down below.