What a week it’s been for space travel! Yesterday, we told you about the Israeli group that’s trying to send the Torah to the moon. Now, let us share with you the tale of three Chinese volunteers who ate bugs for three months to see if they’d make good astronaut food.
For 105 days, three Chinese volunteers lived in a sealed-off biosphere and ate a diet consisting mainly of mealworms, the Daily Mail reports.
The study was designed to see whether mealworms could be a viable food source for astronauts on future space missions. Would eating worms all day give astronauts the nutrients they need to survive for long periods of time in space? And even if it did, would the act of eating bugs all day dangerously deplete astronauts’ morale?
The biosphere, located at the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, contained three rooms: one that served as living quarters, and the other two to “grow plants and keep the mealworms,” according to the Daily Mail. Suddenly your cramped Bed-Stuy apartment doesn’t sound so bad, huh?
During the experiment — which basically amounted to a three-month-long Fear Factor episode — the volunteers found they occasionally had to supplement the mealworms with “more regular foods,” the Daily Mail says. The researchers hope to do the experiment again, next time adding an extra greenhouse to the biosphere, so the volunteers can subsist entirely off mealworms and home-grown plants. Sounds fun.
As far as morale goes, the researchers claim the volunteers didn’t sink into bottomless pools of misery as they dutifully stuffed their faces with worms.
“It did take them some time to adapt to the diet,” researcher Hu Dawei is quoted as saying in a Chinese newspaper. “None of them had ever tried them as food before… The process was not difficult to manage. They all seemed healthy and happy throughout the experiment.”
Future Chinese astronauts, get ready to chow down.