Puerto Rican scientist Dr. Yajaira Sierra-Sastre will be the only Hispanic among six specialists chosen by NASA to live for four months at an isolated planetary module in Hawaii, simulating the life of astronauts in a future base on Mars.
According to Huffingtonpost.com, the team of six scientists is testing food preparation to improve the cuisine of astronauts during space travel. Sierra-Sastre has ensured that the usual canned foods that are used in space are replaced with the taste of Latin food. The daily menu will now include a plate of paella and beans flavored with some rich ingredients like pepper sauce, cilantro and annatto.
NASA has also prepared a contest for the public to participate in by sending suggestions of dishes that can be used during the testing.
After receiving a doctorate in nanomaterials chemistry from Cornell University, Sierra-Sastre is one step closer to accomplishing her goal of becoming an astronaut. Because of her specialty in materials, she will also be participating in research on new designs for cloth, socks, rugs, and towels.