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Wanted food for astronauts leaving for Mars

NASA launches a $ 500,000 contest

NASA, the Canadian Space Agency (Csa) and the Privy Council Office (Pco) have collaborated in the creation of "The Deep Space Food Challenge", a competition that the three agencies hope will provide "innovative and revolutionary technologies or food systems useful for maximizing the production of safe, nutritious and palatable food for long-lasting space missions". Agencies are looking for food they can take to space that is easy to prepare, that hasn't been freeze-dried and isn't served in a small foil bag. "NASA has knowledge and capabilities in this area, but we know that the technologies and ideas come outside the agency," said Grace Douglas, a NASA scientist specializing in advanced food technology at the Johnson Space Center.

Douglas has studied and written about the challenges astronauts face, ranging from "food boredom" to not being able to have enough hot water to rehydrate meals during long missions. Although the refueling vehicles have been able to deliver fresh fruit and vegetables to the International Space Station, that will not be possible if and when NASA sends a crew to Mars. In fact, those participating in the mission will have to prepare to remain in orbit for at least three years without any possibility of refueling.
And this is where the Deep Space Food Challenge comes in. Through the competition, the agency is looking for a food production technology that works within the narrow confines of the "spacecraft environment", that does not contribute to the vehicle weight limit or that produces excessive waste, and that provides food with a good enough flavor and the right nutrients to satisfy astronauts.

Deep Space Food Challenge, will reward those who will be able to identify good and functional food for the missions of the future. Participating is very simple: just log into the initiative's website and click on the "Register your team" button. Registration closes on May 28, while projects must be submitted by July 30. Up to $ 500,000 is already up for grabs, which NASA will divide between a maximum of 20 working groups that will pass the first evaluation phase. It is possible to compete from all over the world, but the resources are intended exclusively for US participants.

hef - 16824

EFA News - European Food Agency
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