NASA Hiring Taste-Testers
Feast your eyes on this stellar job offer:
NASA’s preparing a menu–and a temp position–that’s out-of-this-world. In an attempt to create healthy meals for astronauts the air and space program would theoretically send to Mars for a three-year exploration, NASA is hiring taste- testers to sample meals in a four-month simulation on a Hawaiian lava flow.
The job isn’t for your average foodie. Applicants must also have a bachelor’s degree in engineering, biological or physical sciences, mathematics, or computer science to assist NASA with other types of research. Those selected will substitute bibs for space suits and earthy meals for foods that can be enjoyed, three years later, at zero gravity. They will also be asked to lend a hand in the kitchen.
Researchers from the University of Cornell and the University of Hawaii will be measuring responses to see what meals astronauts don’t mind munching on for long periods of time and what ingredients, if any, make for quick preparation in space. It will combine current ready-made meals with items like freeze- dried meat and flour, which the astronauts can use to whip up their own dishes. The study will also look at whether or not time spent cooking could be time spent researching.
“It’s important to keep astronauts eating well,” Jean Hunter, Cornell professor of biological and environmental engineering, tells USA Today. “It goes to mission success and astronaut safety.”
There are no current plans for a Mars mission; the study merely preempts future opportunity. In addition to being science and food oriented, Hunter adds there’s one final ingredient the team will look for in its applicants: ”people who are congenial or easygoing, without a whole lot of prickles.”
Volunteers will undergo a two-week test run before the study starts in May to ensure they get along with one another and that the equipment functions properly. Those qualified and interested can apply here until Feb 29. Chosen applicants will dig in this summer.