Tuesday, May 22, 2012

NASA will pay you $5,000 to eat really bad food, and you get to spend 4 months in Hawaii! (seriously)…

NASA will pay you to eat really bad food, and you get to spend 4 months in Hawaii!  (Seriously, I’m NOT making this up, and it’s all in the name of scientific research.) As part of its four-month simulated mission to Mars, NASA is looking for volunteers. And no, you won’t be spun around in a gravity simulator until you throw up, nor will they confine you to a tin can the size of your kitchen for weeks to see if you lose your sanity (they’ve already done that sort of testing, and it’s called the International Space Station). No, NASA wants to fly you to Hawaii to study the human limitations of really bad food.

According to a story at Mashable.com, NASA is looking for paid volunteers that can put up with space food for a simulated four-month trip to Mars. Study participants will get to sample a wide variety of dried packaged foods that probably taste like cardboard, while NASA researchers record the participants’ reactions. The goal of your tax dollars at work here is to measure whether the participants can avoid “menu fatigue.” Apparently, menu fatigue is a NASA technical term meaning, “if I have to eat these crackers and processed cheese for one more lunch, I am going to whup sombody’s…” well, you get the idea.

Now before you begin packing for Hawaii, you should know about the qualifications. You must have a bachelor’s degree, either in math, engineering, biological or physical science, or computer science. You can’t be a smoker, and (if selected) you must be prepared to live astronaut-style in tiny rooms with limited bathing and shower facilities alongside total strangers who are likely to work your last nerves.

On the plus side, you get an expenses-paid four-month stay in Hawaii, with airfare, lodging, and meals (if you can go so far as to call them “meals”) included, along with the $5,000 stipend. There’s also R&R time built into the study, so you could take up surfing while your friends back in the continental US are helping pay for all this with their taxes. Still interested? You can apply at http://manoa.hawaii.edu/hi-seas

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