Ketchup On Mars
Dr. Sarah Kessans, University of Canterbury, Lecturer

September 21, 2020

Ketchup On Mars

Good tasting, nutritional adventure food is critical to achieving success in 10X-sized adventure endeavours, like interplanetary travel. Our next guest has done some research on ways to make space food more portable and palatable in support of space colonization. A PhD in Molecular and Cell Biology and serving as a Lecturer at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand - please meet Dr. Sarah Kessans.

To The Moon And Beyond

In 2024, NASA will put American astronauts, and the first female American astronaut, back on the Moon through a program called Artemis. Our guest on this week’s podcast, Dr. Sarah Kessans, has thrown her hat in the ring for consideration as a scientist explorer in this program.

Sarah seems like a great fit for this mission to us!

Since completing her PhD in Molecular and Cell Biology, some of her research at the University of Canterbury has been in trying to engineer ways to make healthy, albeit not very tasteful, algae and fungi taste palatable, if not good. Anyone who has ever been on any kind of expedition, and has been stuck with horrible tasting expedition food, will fully understand her objective. Good tasting food for a hungry, weary explorer greatly increases one’s chances of expeditionary success. And Sarah is no stranger to expeditions in inhospitable conditions.

Ever The Adventurer

Dr. Kessans rowing in the Woodvale Atlantic Ocean Rowing Race

Besides being a scientist, Sarah is also an adventurer who cut her expeditionary teeth rowing across the Atlantic Ocean…twice! The first time, her boat (“American Fire”) capsized in the middle of the ocean where she and teammate, Emily Kohl, spent 16.5 hours on the hull of the overturned boat, 1400 miles from the nearest dryland, in 30 foot waves. Not knowing for sure whether anyone was coming to rescue them after setting off their emergency beacon, they managed to keep each other’s spirits up while waiting for rescue. Rescued they were, and lived to tell the story!

The other half to this already amazing story was how she and teammate Emily Kohl entered the same ocean rowing race two years later and finished the race as members of a four woman rowing team, first called ‘Unfinished Business’ at the start of the race, then ‘Finished Business’ at the end of the race.

This particular race, by the way, is an ocean rowing race from the Canary Islands, off the coast of Morocco, to Antigua in the Caribbean. Just over 3000 miles of beautiful, calm ocean to row…If you believe that, sign up for yourself!

Thanks Sarah for Dreaming 10X! To the Moon, Mars and beyond…with good tasting expedition food!!

podcast biochemistry STEM NASA Artemis Sarah Kessans University of Canterbury Christchurch, New Zealand Woodvale Atlantic Ocean Rowing Race Mars biosynthetic food

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