30,000 Vegan Astronauts

Tomato plants are growing inside a laboratory at the Space Stati

Tomato plants are growing inside a laboratory at the Space Station Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

We’ve recently written about NASA’s planned mission to Mars and how they determined that only a vegan diet is sustainable for the long trip there and back. NASA still faces several hurdles in its quest to launch a human mission to Mars by the 2030s, officials said this month, but progress is being made especially when it comes to designing and implementing a vegan diet for all the astronauts to follow there and back, the latest addition to the extra-terrestrial fare being a vegan pizza.

Now a new non-governmental organization has joined the manned mission to Mars craze, the Mars One project. This new endeavor plans to get to Mars 10 years earlier than NASA. However, just like NASA, Mars One has determined that only a vegan diet is even close to sustainable on the interplanetary mission. Despite tremendous hurdles and unknowns, more than 30,000 Americans have already paid the $38 fee to apply for one of 40 spots to become the first vegan astronauts.

Astronauts will grow their own food, both during the trip to the red planet and once settled. Mars One will make use of high efficiency plant-growing methods that require much less space. Food production will be hydroponic, eliminating the need for soil. Food production will happen indoor, lighted by LED lighting. By providing the plants with only the frequencies of light that they use most efficiently, power consumption is limited. Some of the plants will be grown in multiple levels on top of each other, limiting space requirements. There will be sufficient plant production capacity to feed about three crews of four. The surplus will be stored as emergency rations and for other contingencies. Non-edible parts of the plants will be recycled, or will be stored until more advanced recycling equipment is shipped from Earth.

The race between the two vegan missions is on! We can only hope that the wisdom shown by the space scientists for the sustainability of the mission, and the health of those who inhabit the space capsule and colony, will be shown right here on spaceship Earth! Of course, you don’t have to be an astronaut to enjoy dairy-free pizza. Just try one of the delicious veg-pizzas, such as the one made by Tofurky, at your local natural food store, or at Vegfest!