NASA want to pay for your good ideas on food production in space

Date:5 February 2021 Author: Leila Stein

NASA is looking for great ideas that will help feed astronauts on long-term space missions and they’re willing to pay.

The organisation wants solutions to the awful dry packaged food that astronauts must currently feast on. They have put together the Deep Space Food Challenge, allowing citizens to submit their unique ideas until July 30 and the winning idea will win $500,000 in 2024.

 

“NASA has knowledge and capabilities in this area, but we know that technologies and ideas exist outside of the agency,” said Grace Douglas, NASA lead scientist for advanced food technology at Johnson Space Center in Houston.”Raising awareness will help us reach people in a variety of disciplines that may hold the key to developing these new technologies.”

Douglas has a paper on the subject, so she is well informed. In it, she and colleges describe ways NASA has attempted to grow food before. These include growing small yields of greens and radishes. However, there was never a big enough yield to be considered successful.

While the freeze-dried food is able to be hydrated for the first 10 days of a deep space mission, the lack of variety and eventual lack of hot water means that astronauts are stuck eating the same boring rations which lead to food boredom, a psychological concern for long-term space missions.

Another reason they want to find a solution is that it will be key to space habitation projects. Expecting humans to make it to Mars also includes providing them with fresh fruit and vegetables.

Picture: NASA

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