Tag Archives: Mars

Chickpeas go into space

Project Space Hummus

NASA has determined if we’re ever going to get to Mars, astronauts need to be able to grow their food. Animal foods are not a viable option. This limits them to vegetables, fruits, grains and legumes, the very foundation of a plant-based diet. This is the diet that vegans follow for a variety of reasons: environmental, health, their love of animals, or all of the above. The first colonists on Mars will be veganauts out of necessity, but will hopefully discover the other reasons along the way.

They will have to grow their own food, so the scientists are checking out whether this will work. The first-ever crop of chickpea plants has just made it into space. A mini greenhouse was sent to the International Space Station, where astronauts will grow chickpeas in zero-gravity in what’s been dubbed, Project “Space Hummus.” The question they are seeking to answer is, can you grow chickpeas, and other essential plant-based foods and proteins, without Mother Nature’s own sunshine, earth, and atmosphere? The answer had better be yes if we’re ever going to get to Mars. These chickpeas are being grown in a nutrition gel specifically designed for chickpeas. There is confidence among the scientific community that the plants will grow, based on light and soil, moisture, and oxygen in their controlled environment. But gravity also plays a role in the growth of vegetables, so in a zero-gravity environment, will the plants grow up to the light?

The only chance humans have of sustainable living is to figure out how to grow generations of food, long after what they bring in their spaceships run out. So far, scientists have grown nine vegetables in “simulated” Martian soil: tomatoes, radishes, peas, garden cress, rocket (greens), radishes, rye, quinoa, chives, and leeks. Chickpeas will be the newest frontier, as they hope to eat hummus on Mars!

Elon Musk – Mars and Cars go veg

mars-colonyTesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk recently hosted a conference catered by the innovative vegan company, Impossible Foods. The Code Conference was a gathering of revolutionary thinkers and progressive planners, all of whom munched on vegan sliders as they discussed how to improve the fate of us all. Musk, who has struggled with his own vegetarianism, may now be finally seeing the light. This is especially important if he plans a mission to Mars. NASA has already determined that only a vegan diet will work both for the trip there and for the outpost on Mars itself.

Big names were in attendance at the event, including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and Bill Gates – an early investor in the revolutionary vegan start-up.

tesla-veganTesla, the all-electric-car company, has just unveiled an SUV model that’s not only environmentally friendly — it’s also vegan. When you think of luxury cars, you often think leather seats and that “new car smell” but what if you have plenty of money to spend, and don’t want it lined with animal skin? It’s a problem that plagues some vegans.

For decades, leather-free options in the car industry have been limited at best. Generally speaking, buyers looking to avoid the use of animal products in their cars would have to settle for basic models with cloth seats and plastic steering wheels, but as they add options like better engines, heated seats or upgraded speakers, they’re often forced to choose leather seats.

But now, Tesla’s “Ultra White” interior option, currently only offered in the new Model X SUV, comes available with a fully vegan interior — including synthetic leather seats, steering wheel and gear shift — giving that streamlined luxury look of leather.

The company reportedly created the new interior option, in part, after receiving suggestions from potential customers who felt the company’s eco-friendly stance on limiting emissions made no sense when the cars included animal products.

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!

Vegans on Mars

We’re not kidding. The planned mission to Mars will be vegan all the way there and back. Looking at the enormous inefficiencies in both materials and energy involved in producing animal products for food, the scientists at NASA have concluded that adopting a vegan diet is the only way to go.

Food is vital to the success of the Mission to Mars, so much so that NASA is planning on spending $1 million developing this aspect of the mission. The menu must sustain a group of six to eight astronauts, keep them healthy and happy, and offer a broad array of food. That’s no simple feat considering it will likely take six months to get to the Red Planet, astronauts will have to stay there 18 months, and then it will take another six months to return to Earth.

Researchers are building a menu for the planned NASA mission to Mars, mixing and tasting the concoctions they hope to send with the astronauts. Travel to Mars opens the possibility that astronauts can do things like chop veggies and do a little cooking. It may be possible to boil water with a pressure cooker too. To ensure the diet packs the best in nutrition, the researchers are designing a variety of dishes that include tofu and nuts, including a Thai pizza that has no cheese but is covered with carrots, red peppers, mushrooms, scallions, peanuts and a homemade sauce that has a spicy kick.

On Mars though there is a little gravity, allowing NASA to consider significant changes to the current space menu. That’s where Cooper’s team comes in. Travel to Mars opens the possibility that astronauts can do things like chop vegetables and do a little cooking of their own. Even though pressure levels are different than on Earth, scientists think it will be possible to boil water with a pressure cooker too.

Once on Mars, NASA is planning for the astronauts to care for a “Martian greenhouse.” They would have a variety of fruits and vegetables — from carrots to bell peppers — in a hydroponic solution, meaning they would be planted in mineral-laced water instead of soil. The astronauts would care for their garden and then use those ingredients, combined with others, such as nuts and spices brought from Earth, to prepare their meals.

One advantage of the greenhouse is that it allows the astronauts to actually have live plants that are growing,  This gives them optimum nutrient delivery from the fresh fruits and vegetables, and it actually allows them to have freedom of choice when they’re actually cooking the menus, because the food isn’t already pre-prepared into a particular recipe.

It’s easy to see why NASA decided on vegan for the Mars Mission when we consider what happens here on “spaceship” earth. Many people are surprised to learn that farm animals actually function as food factories in reverse. It turns out that cows, for instance, only give back as meat 4% of the calories and 10% of the protein fed to them, and here on earth it takes almost 5,000 gallons of water just to produce a pound of beef. Meat is also very wasteful of energy, requiring over 15 times more fuel to produce a gram of protein from beef than from soybeans, for instance. Not to be overlooked are also the many health advantages a vegan diet has to offer. Needless to say, there’ll be no doctor’s house calls in outer space and so the astronauts need to maintain themselves in tip top shape.

While the spaceship blast off is still a few years off, you don’t need to wait to follow an astronaut’s diet. Just remember to pack your ship with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes, to give your personal mission here on earth its very best chance of success!