By Stan Bush

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– Three students from the Cherry Creek School District have a shot at being the next chefs for the space program.

NASA selected Grandview students Maya Johnson, senior, Thandi Saunders, sophomore, and Eaglecrest freshman Eva Reish along with nine other teams in a nationwide search.

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The student chefs who were selected have recipes that NASA will already add to their quarantine menu, which astronauts are restricted to in the weeks before the missions begin.

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In two weeks, the teams will cook for the astronauts in person at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. The winning recipe could be added to the next mission to the International Space Station.

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“We learn about how different flavor go together and how we taste things and how they taste things,” says Johnson. “You have to learn about how they live in space and how their senses are different.”

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The chefs are making a quiche to the specifications of life at zero gravity. There is extra spice because at zero gravity astronauts can feel the constant sensation of a head cold and lose taste. There are also no crumbs.

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“They need to be bite size because it’s not good to have crumbs in space because it can mess up systems in the space ship,” says Reish, a freshman at Eaglecrest High School.

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The recipe with eggs, cheese, bacon, and jalapenos is a far cry from the freezer-dried food most people associate with meals in space. The chefs say they hope their meal help stave off bouts of deep depression astronauts reportedly encounter while orbiting the Earth in isolation.

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“It’s a comfort food,” adds Saunders. “We want them to enjoy it. We want them comfortable while they eat it and say ‘Wow, this reminds me of home!’”

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Stan Bush is a general assignment reporter at CBS4. His stories can be seen on CBS4 News at 10. Read his bio and follow him on Twitter @StanBushTV.

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