NASA Cooks Up Something Special with Deep Space Food Challenge
As NASA prepares to send astronauts further into the cosmos than ever before, the agency aims to upgrade production of a critical fuel source: food. Giving future explorers the technology to produce nutritious, tasty, and satisfying meals on long-duration space missions will give them the energy required to uncover the great unknown.<br /><br />In coordination with the Canadian Space Agency, NASA is calling on the public to help develop innovative and sustainable food production technologies or systems that require minimal resources and produce minimal waste. Dubbed the Deep Space Food Challenge, the competition calls on teams to design, build, and demonstrate prototypes of food production technologies that provide tangible nutritional products – or food.<br /><br />Over time, food loses its nutritional value. That means for a multi-year mission to Mars, bringing along pre-packaged food will not meet all the needs for maintaining astronaut health. Additionally, food insecurity is a significant, chronic problem on Earth in both urban and rural communities. Disasters that disrupt supply chains further aggravate food shortages. Developing compact and innovative advanced food system solutions through initiatives such as the Deep Space Food Challenge could have applications in home and community-based local food production, providing new solutions for humanitarian responses to floods and droughts, and new technologies for rapid deployment following disasters.