Can High School Students Improve the World’s Space Food?

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Through NASA's HUNCH program, students are competing to create the next iconic space food. 

Space food is not known for being especially delicious. (A message reinforced vehemently by the 2015 movie The Martian.) Thanks to NASA HUNCH, a program that gives students chances to design products for the International Space Station, kids from all across the country are trying to change that.

As part of the HUNCH Culinary Challenge, which was launched in 2015, 30 high school culinary teams will compete to create the most delicious possible space food. Ten finalists will then compete in a culinary competition at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston this April, and the winning dish will ultimately be served on the International Space Station.

According to Glenn Johnson, of NASA, the winning dish will place a premium on both taste and nutrition.

"Some of the challenges that we’re looking at are, how do you have good nutrition, good flavor, [and] good smells," for food that has to be preserved for upward of three years, he said in a video promoting the project. "How do you preserve the food and still have something that everyone will enjoy?"

Some of the dishes up for consideration this year include baked penne and quinoa curry, according to Mental Floss. Last year's winner? Rice and beans with coconut milk.

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