Not everyone will have the chance to go to Mars. Hell, the vast majority of the human race will never even have the chance to be an astronaut. But just because you can’t be an astronaut doesn’t mean you can’t think like an astronaut, as a couple of New York artists have proven.
Heidi Neilson and Douglas Paulson have created a project called “The Menu for Mars Kitchen”—an exhibit currently being displayed at The Boiler in Brooklyn. Though it's not any sort of official, NASA-sponsored scientific endeavor, these lovers of both food and science took it upon themselves to try to figure out what eating on Mars might actually look like. Think of it as the culinary equivalent of writing your first science-fiction novel—or holding a month-long Mars dinner party in an art space.
Their project allows people from all sorts of disciplines and backgrounds to share what they think food on Mars might be like. “And that’s been astrophysicists and people who have figured out what the soil on Mars will taste like,” Paulson told Bedford+Bowery. “But it’s also people with much more Earthy concerns—people doing compost, people who are growing crickets, people who are figuring out different kinds of experimental agriculture here in New York City.” According to their website, “Dishes will be documented, sampled and vacuum-packed. In July 2015, the prototype dishes and a summary of findings will be sent to NASA to augment their preparations for colonizing Mars.”
‘Space Jam’ made with Ube (purple sweet yam) paste
Not only is the exhibition open to the public, visitors are also encouraged to get in on the action. Sure, there are talks from all sorts of scientists, chefs, artists and others, but the kitchen also has a fully stocked pantry featuring dried, powdered, thermostabilized and dehydrated Mars-feasible ingredients. Anyone is allowed to give cooking for Mars a try.
In the end, the Menu for Mars is about more than just preparing to head to the red planet. “It is a lot about getting people thinking about how weak and difficult the life on Mars will be, but also thinking about what would we do here on Earth in regards to rethinking agriculture and sustainability issues," Paulson told Popular Mechanics.
Plus it’s a chance to just hang out and east some Mars-friendly cricket-enhanced macaroni and cheese with your friends.