NASA shares details of manned mission to Mars including space washing machine

NASA has shared what it will pack on its first manned mission to Mars – including a vegetable farm, a freezer and a space washing machine.

The US space agency’s Chel Stromgren said astronauts leaving in the late 2030s will have a farm growing lettuce and cucumber on board.

They will have a big enough open space to play catch and watch movies together on the three-year trip to bring back ETs to Earth.

Mr Stromgren, NASA’s Mars Integration Group (MIG), told the NASAcast Audio podcast: “In the last few years there’s much more of a feeling that this is leading to a Mars mission.

“A large part of that is the establishment of the MIG. They are designing the Mars mission we think we can actually execute in the 2030s.”



He said half of the mission’s food will be frozen using a state-of-the-art freezer connected to the coldness of space.

It could also bring back alien-ridden rock samples despite fears they could become “Covid-2031” and destroy the world.

The Chief Scientist of Binera Inc said his team were keen on taking a “farm” on the flight.

He said: “We would love to get there. I think we will still do it, grow lettuce, cucumbers on board, but it will more for variety than replacing the food we bring in.

“We are assuming that up to 50% of the food is frozen. We have never used frozen or even really refrigerated food to any serious extent in space before.



“So that means a whole new system on the spacecraft and we simply need to that to keep enough nutrients in the food for that long and to keep the food edible and stable for that long but frankly also from a palatability perspective.

“What we found a lot of the time, many astronauts don’t eat as much as they should.

“Smart engineers are starting to figure how to use things like heat pipes out of space and we use the cold of space.

“We can put those frozen core samples (from Mars) into these very same freezers to get them back to Earth.”

He told the NASAcast Audio podcast there are also plans for a futuristic washing machine that will use either microwaves or the vacuum of space to keep silver-lined clothing fresh.



Explaining that silver kills germs, he said: “You can wear a pair of silver impregnated t-shirt for weeks and it really doesn’t get stinky. It’s maybe a new shirt every couple of weeks.

“We would like to avoid that altogether and NASA does have some programmes that are starting to look at space laundry, we would certainly like to be able to do that.

“I know NASA is looking at microwave based laundry cleaners or things that expose the clothing to the vacuum of space to clean them.”

Mr Stromgren also revealed plans to allow astronauts to play games together and bringing “little things” such as their favourite toiletries to keep spirits up during the gruelling journey.

He said: “We are planning spaces where they can play games. We will definitely some kind of table where they can sit and have meals where they can play a card game if they want.

“We are trying to make sure they have enough space so they can play a ball game. We really want there to be at least one big open space we want there to be a space where they can sit down and watch a movie together. A lot of that is going to be smart reuse of space.

“We saw this in Skylab… we saw that they used that open space to play catch.”

He added: “Each astronaut is likely to have there own little cubicle.

“Maybe they want to go watch a movie or record a message for their family. It may be a little more sumptuous than what we are seeing on the International Space Station.

“I personally think it’s absolutely critical to the astronauts’ well-being – little things like that – being able to have something that they use at home takes away the stress from this long space journey.

“Things we can’t recycle we want to use either a trash airlock or a trash burning system to get rid of that stuff as quickly as we can and bring that space craft mass down.”

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