The news about Hira Raten Manek who seems to be able to survive on sunlight and liquids (including only water in some studies) had been in the local dailies some years back. There were reports that he had been studied by NASA too.

So is this a verified claim?

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    Liquid is a term that can include many different things. Small children survive a long time on a diet of milk. I see no reason why an adult shouldn't be able to survive 11 years through a similar diet.
    – Christian
    Nov 8, 2011 at 14:12
  • I have read recently of a man who lived some 30 or 40 years on a diet entirely of cow's milk (due to some medical condition which prevented him from eating solid foods). But from a technical stand point, milk is not purely "liquid", of course.
    – Flimzy
    Nov 9, 2011 at 5:51
  • There is nothing especially remarkable about humans surviving on a liquid diet. Plenty of nutrients can be pulped into a liquid. The remarkable claim would be that he only consumed water and survived 11 years, but the story sources don't seem to be unequivocal about that.
    – Lisa
    Nov 11, 2011 at 0:30
  • The 'starving yogi' thing? google.com/hostednews/afp/article/… yes it was tested by some people and he passed the test. Since we know the result of the test is false we start doubting the people who ran it.
    – user5194
    Nov 11, 2011 at 9:14

1 Answer 1


In July 2003, noted skeptic, James Randi, investigated the claim that Hira Raten Manek was being tested by NASA.

Well, the official NASA spokesperson, Dolores Beasley, has now said she has no idea why press reports had claimed that NASA had invited Manek. NASA has no record of him being involved with them, in any way whatsoever. So, it's all a lie. What else is new?

This isn't much of a reference - one guy saying a spokesperson denied it.

But, really, for claims of this calibre (i.e. living without food, a claim that has been repeated made but never demonstrated in a reasonable test) how good does the counter-evidence have to be?

(That last link discusses other 'tests' that Hira Raten Manek submitted to. Note the lack of reports of independent tests where they don't somehow neglect to ensure he isn't eating.)

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    Proving that something did not happen is always hard. If nobody can provide any evidence that this happened, a spokesperson denial seems enough to me. What however smells a bit to me is how can one make a statement like this? How does a spokesperson search through all NASA records? All all NASA records indexed digitally?
    – Suma
    Nov 8, 2011 at 13:21
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    People eventually die without food. They also don't do photosynthesis so "surviving on light and water" is rather impossible. Source: any textbook for school students. Case closed? I mean, at least I see a clear difference between being a skeptic and playing a skeptic.
    – user288
    Nov 8, 2011 at 20:13
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    @Sejanus, we have someone standing up and effectively saying "The textbooks are wrong." In such a case, it is insufficient to point to assertions in those very textbooks as proof. We must go back and show how we know the knowledge in the textbook is true. All those theories could be undone with one solid piece of counter-evidence. Given the strength of the knowledge behind them, that would take an extraordinarily solid piece of evidence. Now, the question is "Is this evidence solid?" The media says "Maybe yes! Even NASA is checking it out." Randi says "No."
    – Oddthinking
    Nov 8, 2011 at 23:10
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    "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence..."
    – Jose Luis
    Nov 10, 2011 at 8:09
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    @ Oddthinking exactly. It was meant to add to your answer, not to criticize it.
    – user288
    Nov 10, 2011 at 13:23

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