NSS Space Forum Nov. 4: Food for Mars Flight

NSS Space Forum

You are Invited to a National Space Society Space Forum  

Thursday, November 4, 2021, 9:00 pm to 10:15 pm EDT

The NSS – MMARS Space Health and Diet Contest: A Food and Nutrition Plan for a Space Flight to Mars


With Special Guests

nitrition contest

The NSS – MMARS Space Health and Diet Contest is aimed at addressing 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.” This space forum will feature the 1st and 2nd place winners who will be presenting their papers:

  • Zsuzsanna Benyo, 1st Place Winner – “IF is not an “if”, but a MUST with Ketogenic-Mediterranean Diet to safeguard astronauts in deep-space missions”
  • Katarina Heyden, 2nd Place Winner – “A Balanced, Plant-Rich, and Time-Restricted Diet to Minimize Health Risks from Space and Improve Metabolic Health”

NSS is also pleased to introduce the session with a presentation from Dr. Afshin Beheshti, KBR-NASA Ames Research Center Contracting Scientist, who will present “Mitochondrial Studies to Identify Prevention and Countermeasures to Space Flight Injury.”

The program will also feature comments and introductions from Lynne Zelinski, NSS Vice President of Education and Outreach and NSS Board of Directors; Bill Gardiner, NSS Space Health and Medicine Committee Chair; Loretta Hall, NSS Space Ambassador; Jerry McLaughlin, NSS Membership Committee; and Susan Ip-Jewell, MMARS Analog Missions.

This space forum complements the session from 28 Oct on Space Farming and takes a look beyond the technical factors that will define long-duration space flight. Don’t miss these informative presentations from two talented students and a NASA scientist who are studying these issues.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Ms. Zsuzsanna Benyo is passionate about space nutrition and innovative food technology. As a B.Sc. student of Dietetics at the Semmelweis University of Health Sciences in Hungary, she has been studying cancer prevention and microbiome research. Previously, she has successfully obtained the certificate of Wageningen University from the Netherlands, in nutrition against cancer and cardiovascular diseases, metabolic health, malnutrition and overnutrition. Zsuzsanna also holds MA in Economics and Political Sciences. She has been an internationally acknowledged C-suite leader responsible for Communications and Public Affairs. She has been also on a Ketogenic – Mediterranean Diet combined with Intermittent Fasting since January 2021. She is a member of the Hungarian Association of Dietitians. Zsuzsanna is a native Hungarian, speaking English, German, French, and a little Russian. She is the mother of three children.

Ms. Katarina Heyden is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Cornell University studying Molecular Nutrition, where her research is focused on vitamin B12 and folate metabolism. Originally from Rhode Island, Ms. Heyden attended Cornell University for her undergraduate education and was fascinated by the intersection of biochemistry and nutrition after going to a guest lecture by Dr. Scott Smith, the director of Nutritional Biochemistry Laboratory for NASA. She is interested in micronutrient metabolism, nutrigenomics, and space nutrition. Ms. Heyden aims to discover new ways to prevent and ameliorate disease by altering nutrient intake and minimizing the use of pharmaceuticals. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and listening to true crime podcasts.

Dr. Beheshti earned a Ph.D. from Florida State University in physics and made a transition to cancer, systems biology, and radiation biology for his postdoctoral training. In 2014 he became an Assistant Professor at Tufts University School of Medicine where he continued his research as a systems biologist studying various aspects of cancer including microRNAs, aging and cancer, cancer drug targets, and development of novel immunotherapy. In April 2017, Dr. Beheshti joined KBR at NASA Ames Research Center to be part of the GeneLab project assisting with developing the platform. In addition, Dr. Beheshti also has his own grants where he is conducting research on how microRNAs will impact space biology and potential use for countermeasures to mitigate space radiation and microgravity. Lastly, Dr. Beheshti currently also holds a Visiting Researcher appointment at Broad Institute and is President of a non-profit working on COVID-19 called COVID-19 International Research Team.

Register today to reserve your seat and ask your questions.

Register no later than Nov. 4 at 8 pm EDT.

Past NSS Space Forums and Town Halls may be viewed here.


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