Press Release

Mars Food Face-Off August 9 at Space Center Houston

By SpaceRef Editor
August 4, 2014
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The Food Network and Cooking Channel have made everyday names of celebrity chefs who “cook for the stars,” but on Saturday, Aug. 9, visitors will experience “cooking in the stars” at Space Center Houston’s “Mars Food Face-Off.”

A celebrity chef and a “cosmic chef” will guide participants to prepare meals from food that could be grown on Mars by future explorers in a fun competition for all ages. The family-friendly bonus activity allows participants to learn by experiencing and is open to any visitor with paid admission as part of the “Facing Mars” experiential exhibit which ends Sept. 1.

“The Mars Food Face-Off shares the science behind food preparation for deep space missions,” said event organizer LaTanya Miles of Space Center Houston. “With NASA actively working on its mission to send astronauts to Mars, this event helps families understand the challenges.”

The challenging Mars Food Face-Off will have three separate competitions scheduled for 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. in the center’s Zero-G Diner. Each competition will include adult and youth competitors paired with a chef mentor who will guide them as they use authentic ingredients viable for a Mars mission. Contestants will have 30 minutes to produce a well-balanced dish that will be judged on creativity, presentation, nutritional value and taste. Winners will be announced at the end of each round and each round will be streamed live on

Mentoring the contestants will be Sodexho Executive Chef Shane Miller, a winner on Food Network’s “Guy’s Grocery Games” and celebrity contestant on “Cutthroat Kitchen,” as well as Sodexho Chef Carlos Gonzalez, the on-site executive chef for Space Center Houston.

Contestants 12 years and younger must be accompanied by an adult, 18 years or older. Entry into the competition is on a first-come basis with a stand-by list for alternates. Additionally, visitors will explore the psychological effects of limited food supply and learn about various Advanced Food Systems NASA is developing to provide space crews with safe, nutritious and appetizing food while minimizing volume, mass and waste.

Throughout the day, guests will experience all that Space Center Houston has to offer, including the challenges of life in space in the special exhibit Facing Mars. With 28 entertaining and thought-provoking activities, the exhibit allows visitors to experience the physical, psychological and scientific challenges involved in journeying to the Red Planet. For more information or to purchase tickets, go to

The Manned Space Flight Education Foundation Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with an extensive science education program. The cornerstone of its science education mission is Space Center Houston, which USA Today called “The Big Draw” in the greater Houston area with nearly 800,000 visitors annually and a $45 million economic impact on the greater Houston area. It is the official visitor center of NASA’s Johnson Space Center and draws more than 100,000 teachers and students annually from around the world. For more information, go to


SpaceRef staff editor.