We seem to have an abundance of resources to devote to raising animal foods for consumption here on Earth. However, astronauts, especially those who would be the first to set foot on Mars, will not have that luxury.
Any trip to Mars will be a long affair. Under the best case scenarios, travel time to and back from Mars alone would take about a year. Anyone willing to travel that long will not want to spend anything less than several months on the Red Planet. The long trip, and limited space and resources make it necessary to ensure efficiency during the trip. And, plant-based foods are the most efficient way of getting the best nutrition from the source to a person on Earth, and as it turns out, in space too.
It makes sense then, that NASA is testing different types of vegan foods for astronauts making the long trip to make sure that the new Martians will have a variety of tastes, and easy-to-prepare options with the ingredients that will be accessible to them.
Of course, they will be growing most of their food once they are established on Mars. And to make sure that their gardens are successful, NASA is also testing different growing environments for the fruits and veggies that astronauts will be consuming.
Image Credits: NASA