Apparently the idea of living in a simulated space capsule and pretending to be an astronaut was appealing to the 700 applicants who volunteered for a Cornell study. Only six lucky volunteers will make the cut.
The scientists, who include Jean Hunter, associate professor of biological and environmental engineering, and Bruce Halpern, professor of psychology and neurobiology and behavior, are leading a $947,000, three-year NASA study on the diets of six volunteer “astronauts” who will spend four months in 2013 on a barren lava field in Hawaii. The conditions are meant to resemble a mission to Mars, complete with simulated spacewalks and suiting up in space gear.
The study will help combat the problem of astronaut menu fatigue – a concern among space travelers, who tire of eating foods they normally enjoy but also tend to eat less, putting them at risk for nutrition deficiencies, according to Hunter.