February 12, 2021 , 11:06 am

Fresh Food in Deep Space

us science space symposium

Do you have a passion for food? (Hello, yes you do, that’s why you’re here!!). How about a passion for space travel? Well if you’re savvy enough about both, NASA wants to give you up to $500,000 to figure out a way to get astronauts fresh food while on deep space missions. No biggie, right?

It’s called “The Deep Space Food Challenge” and it’s designed to help NASA figure out how to provide “future space explorers and people on Earth nutritious foods they will enjoy” so they don’t always have to rely on that freeze-dried stuff while hanging out in deep space.

Fresh fruit and veggie deliveries “provide profound psychological benefits,” according to the paper Space Food for Thought: Challenges and Considerations for Food and Nutrition on Exploration Missions. Such deliveries would be virtually impossible on a deep space mission, such as one to Mars, according to UPI, and any method to produce food on a spaceship would face time, space, and environmental restrictions due to the nature of these ships.

That’s where you come in! Solve the problem of figuring out how to get fresh and healthy food that can safely and easily be grown and harvested on a ship and you’ve got yourself a winner! The competition’s page also notes that such a solution, which would make efficient use of volume, water, and other constraints, could be used to benefit areas facing hunger and food shortages on Earth. Win-Win!

If you’re up for the challenge, you must register by May 28, and your Phase 1 ideas must be submitted by July 30. NASA will give $25,000 to up 20 of their favorite ideas from this round and they’ll be asked to go on to Phase 2. More info here, BTW. Good luck!!

Tags
Exploration Missions
food shortages
NASA
space explorers
Space Food
spaceship

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