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NASA Mars Mission News: Humans Need Insects To Survive Red Planet.

For humans to survive Planet Mars, they might have to drastically change their diets to help their bodies adjust to the change of atmosphere, radiation and lack of gravitational pull. This includes the intake of food that some might describe as exotic, such as eating insects. 

According to a report from (https://www.space.com/how-feed-one-million-mars-colonists.html) Space.com , it would take a lot of adjustments when it comes to meeting human's dietary needs when and should a human colony on Planet Mars actually come to fruition. The idea is no longer far-fetched since crewed missions to the Red Planet are already underway and we have people like SpaceX CEO Elon Musk who is determined to colonize Mars and start a human civilization there in the very near future. 

This could mean trying to find ways of feeding as much as 1 million people at any given time. So if this happens soon, what food would be available for those in the Mars colonies? Per the report, the best way to address making life easier on the planet is to work with resources that are already available. This includes energy, water, oxygen and construction material. Solar power can be harnessed for energy, ice can be converted to water and Martian soil can be used to create constructions materials. 

When it comes to food, however, it is more complicated. "Food is probably going to be the hardest thing to make locally on Mars, and you can't just import it all if you want to have a self-sufficient settlement," Keith Cannon, a planetary scientist at the University of Central Florida in Orlando, said. Cannon is the lead author of a (https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/space.2019.0018?journalCode=space) study that aims to address the food concerns of a human colony made of 1 million people.

"We were working with a lot of people who wanted to grow plants in the simulated Mars soils we create, and this led us to look at what research was being done in terms of producing food for future human missions to the moon or Mars," Cannon said. "It turns out most of the focus has been on very low-calorie vegetables, and the latest innovations in alternative protein sources were not being considered. We asked the question: Instead of a short NASA-style mission to Mars, what would it take to feed a city of 1 million people, like what SpaceX is imagining?"

Taking this into consideration, they concluded that it would not be practical at all to raise farm animals that can supply both dairy and meat since the shipping of these animals would pose a major logistics concern. Growing plants on the planet might offer a more practical solution but it would be hard to get people aboard to become completely vegetarian, and it is also important for their bodies to get protein to survive Mars' volatile atmosphere. 

According to the study, the best solution to address food concerns is to set up insect farms and produce lab-grown meat. 

Insects like crickets are said to work best for those who plan to stay long on the Red Planet because insects basically provide a lot of calories per unit land. They are also easy to grow since they require little water and feeds. Crickets have been known to be one of the most edible insects in the world that they are even used to create products like cricket flour. 

"Bugs are the way to go, if people can get over the gross factor," Cannon said.
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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Date:Sep 19, 2019
Words:599
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