Mars Food Face-Off



The food that astronauts take to Mars or grow on Mars will be unusual by Earth standards. Food is important for nutrition and emotional well-being, so before astronauts can travel to Mars, food scientists will have to determine how they can grow their food sustainably as well as how they will cook it in reduced gravity.

As part of Home School Day 2015, Space Center Houston invites participants to a cooking challenge to illustrate the challenges of creating good-tasting, healthy meals with limited ingredients. The Food Face-Off is an opportunity for guests to engage in an experiential learning activity with food that reflects the real-life options of future space explorers on Mars. A group of judges will rate each dish based on creativity, presentation, taste and best use of available food items.

Here are the details:

  • There will be two sessions (11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.) in the Zero-G Diner.
  • Each session will comprise three adult teams and three youth teams with a maximum of two people per team (participants 12 years and younger must be accompanied by an adult at least 18 or older).
  • Contestants will be provided with a “mystery basket” of ingredients that are appropriate for Mars (lightweight, shelf-stable, nutritious, etc.) containing three to four must-use ingredients.
  • Contestants then will be allowed to choose additional pre-measured ingredients from available ingredients that are viable for a mission to Mars.
  • Contestants have 30 minutes to create one dish that will be judged on creativity, presentation, taste and best use of available food items.
  • In addition to the ingredients, cooking utensils and equipment will be provided.
  • Contestants will be asked to sign a waiver acknowledging that cooking has inherent risks.

After the dishes are judged, prizes will be distributed.

Times and locations of speakers, presentations, workshops, shows, activities and demonstrations subject to change without notice.