A day in life aboard the International Space Station (ISS) can be somewhat tough since eating in space is not an easy matter. Thankfully, NASA has food systems under their control thanks to the regular food delivery spacecraft that regularly launch from Earth.
However, as longer crewed missions to Mars and beyond come closer, finding fresh ideas for the future of innovative and sustainable food systems is becoming more and more important.
Now, Deep Space Food Challenge, a NASA Centennial Challenge is seeking projects from all around the world to develop novel food system technologies for long-duration deep space missions.
Novel food production technologies
NASA and the Canadian Space Agency have coordinated for this challenge to become a reality. Since astronauts cannot bring all the food they'll need with them to the spacecraft, NASA states that humanity needs to invent food production systems that can be used in space.
In coordination with @csa_asc, our new @NASAPrize, the Deep Space Food Challenge, offers up to a $500K prize purse for ideas on how to provide astronauts healthy, tasty food for longer missions to Mars and beyond.— NASA (@NASA) January 20, 2021
🍲 Here's how you can compete: https://t.co/ZB2YArVdeX pic.twitter.com/jU2c4gHOFM
The ideal project, per NASA's website, would require minimal resources and produce minimal waste while providing safe, nutritious, and tasty food for the astronauts aboard.
Jim Reuter, the associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, stated, "We are excited to coordinate with the Canadian Space Agency to conduct this challenge and push the boundaries of food technology production that will help keep our future explorers healthy, knowing that some of these technologies could also have great terrestrial applications."
The solutions could also be beneficial for Earth
There is a prize purse of up to $500,000 from NASA in Phase 1 of the competition.
Such food systems might provide to be beneficial here on Earth, too. The proposed solutions could enable new avenues for food production in extreme environments and in locations where disasters disrupt crucial infrastructure.
You can watch the video below to learn more about the challenge:
Those who are interested can learn more about the challenge here.