Science lovers, prepare to be blown away.
It’s been widely hypothesized that the future of space exploration lies in the private sector, and two trailblazing companies are coming together to prove it in a big way: Hellmann’s is teaming up with SpaceX for a sponsored mission to find out if humans can survive for 15 years in space while eating nothing but mayonnaise.
Wow. This is going to be a fascinating experiment!
Hellmann’s announced the historic sponsorship on its website yesterday, along with a preview of the enormous blue-and-white rocket bearing the Hellmann’s logo that will take six crew members and 4,200 gallons of mayo up into Earth’s orbit, enough for each astronaut to have a pint of the egg-based spread each day.
“We are thrilled and honored to team up with Hellmann’s, a company dedicated to furthering scientific thought,” explained SpaceX CEO Elon Musk at a press conference earlier today. “If we discover that humans can survive in space on just mayo for 15 years, we will be that much closer to sending humans to Mars with just mayo.”
The 15-year mission isn’t scheduled for liftoff until 2019, but don’t think Hellmann’s and SpaceX are just sitting around. They’ve already conducted a successful 20-day trial feeding a diet of just mayonnaise to graduate students in a sealed room meant to simulate the spacecraft’s interior, and they recently acquired a decommissioned NASA reduced-gravity aircraft to examine how Hellmann’s squeeze bottles perform in microgravity.
The six-person crew is still being selected, and candidates have been rigorously screened to weed out soy and egg allergies that could jeopardize the decade-and-a-half-long trip. Once in space, the astronauts will undergo daily evaluations to monitor their physical and psychological responses to the diet, while also keeping busy with a variety of botanical experiments to see how plants grow when given nothing but mayonnaise as well.
Well, there’s no doubt about it: Science fans should be over the moon about this announcement. We’ll be looking forward to seeing what Hellmann’s and SpaceX can learn from their great work together!