What will astronauts eat on the long journey to Mars?
Research at the University of Hawaii at Manoa could help answer that question.
The trip to and from Mars would take about two and a half years and the astronauts' diet would ideally need to be something healthy that wouldn't require much energy or effort to make.
Mechanical engineering student Aleca Borsuk said amaranth is a good candidate because its heat and drought tolerant, and can be cultivated as a hearty grain. Also, astronauts could eat the whole plant.
"If you move the lights and have some of them overhead and some of them within the plant leaves, it can actually stimulate them to grow faster and larger," said Aleca Borsuk, UH-Manoa mechanical engineering student.
"They do the same thing that they do here on Earth, which is regenerate oxygen in the atmosphere. They also can provide nutrition to astronauts, and if you can imagine being away from Earth for many years, you know, tending something that's green would be kind of a psychological boost as well."