Well, it’s safe to say that we’re going to keep venturing into space, and NASA is working to make sure astronauts get the best possible food when they’re floating around up there. (We can’t keep sending them pizza, the delivery fees are astronomical, and they don’t really live on freeze-dried ice cream.)
NASA announced 18 U.S. teams of students, chefs, small business owners, and more as the winners of the Deep Space Food Challenge, each rewarded $25,000. The competition kicked off in January when teams were tasked with coming up with ideas focused on manufactured foods, bio culture, and plant growth with other specific stipulations, like the requirement that it must work to feed a crew of four astronauts and should help fill food gaps for three-year round trips with no resupply. But the general gist is to make something that ensures future astronauts don’t go hungry that also benefits those of us who prefer to stay back on Earth.
Far Out Foods, the winning team from St. Paul, Minnesota, created the Exo-Garden, a self-contained food production system for growing fresh mushrooms and hydroponic vegetables in space. Deep Space Entomoculture, based out of Somerville, Massachusetts, came up with a system to generate food that simulates meat products from insect cells. Florida-based Space Bread invented a way for astronauts to, you guessed it, bake bread in space.
The full list of winners can be found at deepspacefoodchallenge.com, and NASA will be airing a show on NASA Television and nasa.gov/live on November 9 at 11 a.m. EST exploring the details of the competition and the winning ideas. According to the Deep Space Food Challenge website, these 18 teams are the winners of Phase 1, but there are no details on what Phase 2 will look like. We can only assume the prize will be a dinner reservation for two in the International Space Station.