NSS in Cooperation with MMAARS, Inc. Rolls Out 2021 Health and Diet Contest for Long Duration Space Flight

By  Bill Gardiner, NSS Space Health and Medicine Committee Chair

Entrants are asked to write a short white paper to address the contest titled as “A Food and Nutrition Plan for Space Flight to Mars.” NSS again offers a $3500 grand prize, a $1000 second prize, and participation in Mars analog missions in Mojave, California, conducted by Mars-Moon Astronautics Academy and Research Science (MMAARS), Inc. Full details can be found at the NSS SpacEdge Academy website. There, Contest entrants can find full instructions and extensive help to prepare their entries. Last year’s winners, Alix Hughes, of Dublin, Ireland, and Stellie Ford, of Philadelphia, PA, were given high marks for thoughtful and innovative diet plans for long duration space flight. The continuing theme of the contest is to address the known health barriers to space flight with food, diet, and even different eating patterns like intermittent fasting. Research conducted by NASA has revealed specific genetic, nutritional and environmental factors bearing on these health issues. Accordingly, contestants are asked to submit a pre-flight diet, food and intermittent fasting plan to address insulin resistance, one of the factors identified by NASA, and estimated to affect up to 88% of the population in countries dominated by high carbohydrate low fat eating patterns, aka the “SAD diet”.

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