To resolve the issue of feeding astronauts on long-duration objectives, NASA began the Deep Area Food Difficulty in January 2021, asking business to propose unique methods to establish sustainable foods for future objectives. About 200 business gotten in– a field that was trimmed to 11 groups in January 2023 as part of stage 2, with 8 United States groups each provided $20,000 in financing and 3 extra worldwide groups likewise acknowledged. On May 19, NASA revealed the groups that will advance into the last stage of the contest, with a handful of winners to be revealed in April 2024 following more in-depth tests of their propositions.
” Stage 2 was sort of a kitchen-level presentation,” states Angela Herblet at NASA’s Marshall Area Flight Center in Alabama, the job supervisor for the difficulty. “Stage 3 is going to challenge the groups to scale their innovations.”
Entrants needed to reveal systems that might run for 3 years and feed a team of 4 on a potential area objective. The propositions did not require to provide a team’s whole diet plan, however they did require to produce a range of healthy foods for the astronauts. Previously this year, judges then went to each business to “see the food and actually evaluate it,” states Herblet.
One business took an especially uncommon method to the job. Air Business, based in New york city and among the 5 US-based finalists, developed a system that might utilize the co2 expelled by astronauts in area to produce alcohol, which might then be utilized to grow edible food. The business currently establishes alcohols from CO2 for airplane fuel and fragrance.
” It’s making food out of air,” states Stafford Sheehan, cofounder and primary innovation officer of Air Business. “It seems like magic, however when you see it in fact running, it’s far more basic. We’re taking CO2, integrating it with water and electrical power, and making proteins.”
The procedure produces alcohol that can then be fed to yeast, producing “something that’s edible,” states Sheehan. For the competitors they developed basically a protein shake, referred to as resembling one made from seitan, a vegan meat replacement. “It in fact tastes respectable,” states Sheehan. For astronauts in area, the system would ferment constantly to provide food. “Whenever you seem like you desire an area protein shake, you make one from this yeast that’s growing,” states Sheehan.