The Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation project - or the catchier HI-SEAS - took place in an isolated area near the volcano Mauna Loa on Hawaii's Big Island: a barren area with similar terrain to the red planet. Living at an elevation of over 8,000 feet, the team of six 'astronauts' lived in a specialised dome designed to replicate the Mars environment. Restrictions included communication blackouts and the inability to venture outside without a space suit.
Funded by NASA, the collaboration between the University of Hawaii and Cornell University lasted 120 days. The main mission objective was to experiment with new food preparation strategies that will need to be developed in order to send teams to Mars or beyond.
Restricted to freeze dried or otherwise perserved food, the team tested various recipies to see what could provide the necessary sustenance while also ensuring future astronauts don't get bored with the standard dried offerings. The team also invited recipies from the public, and to mark the end of the four month long project have announced some of the most successful on their website. The crew's favourite options included No Crust Quiche Muffins and Spam Fried Rice.
With both the international space agencies and private companies like Mars One proposing manned missions to Mars, potential astronauts can now rest easier knowing low gravity mealtime just got that little bit tastier.
(Photo: Sian, HI-SEAS)