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Kimchi to add spice to Russian space experiment

by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP) Sept 9, 2009
South Korea plans to supply four types of food including its famed kimchi for use in a Russian experiment to test the feasibility of a space flight to Mars, a state institute said Wednesday.

The Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute said it has signed a joint research agreement with Moscow's Institute of Biomedical Problems (IMBP) for ready-to-eat versions of bulgogi (barbecued beef), bibimbap (rice mixed with vegetables and an egg), seaweed soup and kimchi, as well as for two beverages.

IMBP, which is part of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the State Scientific Center of the Russian Federation are in charge of the MARS-500 project.

The test is designed to determine, in a ground-based experiment, whether a manned flight to Mars is possible and to solve the many potential problems.

Following earlier tests of shorter duration, an experiment due to start in March 2010 will place six volunteers in an airtight environment mimicking a space capsule for 520 days.

The agreement provides for certification by Russian authorities that the Korean food and beverages are suitable, and for the food to be given to cosmonaut volunteers for 120 days.

Scientists will then record the effects the foods have on the volunteers' immune system, which is crucial for long space travel.

The Korean institute said developing a range of space food can help South Korea prepare for possible manned missions of its own. It could also have applications in producing instant food for troops in the field and for emergencies.

A specially engineered version of kimchi -- a pickled and fermented vegetable dish -- went into space in April last year with South Korea's first astronaut, who travelled to the International Space Station aboard a Russian rocket.

South Korea, in a joint project with Russia, launched its own space rocket last month but it failed to place a satellite into orbit.

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Food Vital During Long Space Flights
Chicago IL (SPX) Aug 20, 2009
A new study in the Journal of Food Science explores the impact of space flight on the nutritional value of foods. Maintaining the health of the crew aboard a spacecraft is a critical issue especially during extended trips. Because foods may lose their nutrients during extended space missions, food scientists are analyzing ways to increase shelf life of nutrients in the food. Researchers at ... read more

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