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Meet the Woman Who Will Feed Astronauts on Mars

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By 2025, NASA is planning to send humans on a historic trip to Mars. Yes, they will boldly go where no man has gone before—but what will they eat? Popular Science recently interviewed NASA food scientist Vickie Kloeris about her quest to create space meals that are healthy, long-lasting, and—dare we say it—tasty?

Kloeris’s biggest challenge is creating food that is appetizing and can last for months outside a refrigerator. While some people picture Mars's first settlers eating fresh vegetables harvested from hydroponic greenhouses, the residents will likely be snacking on food that will have been delivered to Mars five to seven years before their arrival. And they may have plenty of options. Kloeris and her contemporaries currently provide 200 different food and beverage choices for astronauts at the International Space Station.

There are also concerns over how the meals’ nutritional content will decay over time. Scientists are tackling this challenge by studying the foods' shelf life to see how many nutrients survive. They’re also experimenting with fortifying the foods and looking into new ways to process and sterilize them so they’ll preserve more nutrients from the start.

Of course, there are still other issues at play. Researchers don’t know how deep space radiation affects food, and there’s no way to test this without leaving Earth’s atmosphere. And even though space dwellers might be able to grow some produce in an LED light-outfitted box, that is not going to yield them enough nutritionally-dense veggies to impact their diets. Meanwhile, it's unlikely that innovations like 3D-printing or insect food products will impact the way astronauts dine. 

However much work it takes, Kloeris says she hopes to make sure that space voyagers like what they’re eating. “Food is one of the few creature comforts that the astronauts have, so the food has become really important from a psychological perspective,” she says. 

[h/t Popular Science]

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Food Going Bad? How to Set the Correct Temperature For Your Fridge
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Depending on the size of your household, your grocery bill can sometimes outpace utility costs or other expenses, making it one of the biggest monthly expenditures in your budget. If you've spent that money on organic, fresh produce, watching it go bad faster than it should can be a frustrating experience.

If your lettuce is getting icy or your meat is smelling a little fishy, the problem might be your refrigerator's temperature setting. While many newer fridge models have digital thermometers that make checking for the correct temperature easy—it should be right around 37°F, with your freezer at 0°F—others have a manual dial that offers ambiguous settings numbered from one to five or one to 10.

Fortunately, there's an easy way to make the knob match your ideal climate. Refrigerator thermometers are available at home goods stores or online and provide a digital readout of the refrigerator's interior that's usually accurate within 1°F. Leave the thermometer on the middle shelf to get the correct reading.

Once you have the appliance set, be sure to check it periodically to make sure it's maintaining that temperature. Packing too much food on your shelves, for example, tends to make the interior warmer. If the coils need to be cleaned, it might be retaining more heat. Kept at a steady 37°F, your food should remain fresh, safe, and perfectly cold.

 

[h/t Reader's Digest]

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Voodoo Doughnut Is Coming to the East Coast (Finally!)
Universal Orlando Resort
Universal Orlando Resort

Voodoo Doughnut, the beloved Portland purveyor of creative pastries, is finally coming to the East Coast. The company is opening a shop at the Universal Orlando Resort in Florida, according to Travel + Leisure.

The original Voodoo Doughnut opened in Portland, Oregon in 2003. An early adopter of the maple-bacon dessert trend, it became famous for its Maple Bacon Bar and has since added doughnuts that incorporate other quirky flavors like bubble gum dust, Tang, and Fruit Loops. (At one point, the company sold doughnuts glazed with NyQuil, as well as one called a Vanilla Pepto Crushed Tums doughnut, but both of those have been discontinued by order of the health department.) Several of its unique flavors have also been turned into beers by the Oregon-based Rogue Ale.

A chocolate doughnut with a candy skull inside the hole.
A Dia de los Muertos-themed doughnut
Mathieu Thouvenin, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The popular Portland location usually features a line out the door and down the block, and the company now has outposts in Eugene, Denver, Austin, and Los Angeles. It has such a cult following that the stores will not just provide doughnuts for your wedding—they will host the ceremony. Now, East Coast doughnut lovers will be able to get in on the action, too.

The Universal Orlando CityWalk store has opened already, but it’s still in preview mode, meaning the hours can vary, and there's no guarantee it will be open every day. When it officially opens later this spring, it will be serving up more than 50 types of doughnuts seven days a week from 7 a.m. to midnight, and until 1 a.m. on weekends.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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