Having trouble figuring out what to have for dinner tonight? NASA scientists might not have much sympathy. They’re busy planning what astronauts will eat in the 2030s on a planned two-and-a-half year mission to Mars.

Space food has, of course, made great strides since the days of astronaut ice cream and Tang, and the International Space Station provides its crew members with a lot of food options, but they all have to be supplied from Earth on a regular basis. The planned Mars trip will be something entirely different — six months flying through space, another 18 months on the surface, and six more months getting back. That means either the food will need to last much longer, or space men and women will need to grow their own supplies.

The Associated Press reports that NASA is looking into both those options, as well as a combination of the two. Because there is gravity on Mars, astronauts may be able to grow fruits and vegetables in hydroponic gardens, and will be able to perform basic cooking tasks like chopping food and using pressure cookers.

Meat and dairy products can’t be preserved for long enough to last for the entire mission, so the six to eight Mars astronauts will eat vegan diets while on the mission. NASA has come up with 100 recipes, including a cheese-less Thai pizza with vegetables and spicy peanut sauce, as well as lots of options including protein-rich tofu and nuts. Aside from meeting the crew’s nutritional requirements, one of the goals in developing the menu is creating comfort food that doesn’t contribute to the psychological stress of being millions of miles from home.

Between storage issues, the challenges of growing a garden in Mars’s low-gravity conditions and astronauts’ inability to just call a pizza place if they mess up their meal, NASA’s menu planners have more to worry about than the average home cook. Then again, they also have a bigger budget for their planning process: $1 million a year.

Main photo credit: NASA; video credit: Associated Press