Iowa State University researchers say soybeans are being considered as a potential food source for astronauts on long space missions. Tony Pometto, director of the NASA Food Technology Commercial Space Center at I-S-U, says soybeans are a versatile food that can give astronauts a lot of options. They can be made into milk, cheese-like products, soyburgers and other food.Pometto says I-S-U researchers are trying to develop cheap ways to process soybeans at a space outpost on Mars or the Moon. He says NASA had never processed food in space, despite an elaborate hydrophonic setup to grow food.He says NASA wants astronauts to be able to grow and process 90-percent of the food they’ll use on planetary outposts. It’s easier and cheaper to transport the seeds into outer space than it is to ship pre-processed food. Pometto says NASA has set up a simulated outpost where they’ll confine astronauts for a year-and-a-half — just like a regular mission. He says I-S-U researchers will be able to test some of their methods for processing food in that outpost.Soybeans are one of 15 crops selected for tests as potential outer space fare for NASA astronauts.
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