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Winning astronaut food ideas announced in Deep Space Food Challenge

Published November 16,2021

Astronaut food ideas including using microorganisms, insects or 3D printers have been honoured in a contest held by the US and Canadian space agencies NASA and CSA.

NASA announced the 28 winners from around 180 global submissions for the "Deep Space Food Challenge" in a pre-recorded show on Monday.

Teams were challenged to create game-changing food technologies or systems that need minimal input to produce "safe, nutritious and palatable" food for long-haul space missions.

The "Electric Cow" team from Germany proposed using microorganisms and 3D printers to produce food from carbon dioxide.

The "Deep Space Entomoculture" team from Massachusetts suggested generating meat-style food products from dry-preserved insect cells transported into space and re-activated in a suspension bioreactor.

The Brazilian "LTCOP" team's design aims to produce strawberries and taioba, a popular crop in south-eastern Brazil, on Mars conditions and in transit.

The 18 US winners and 10 international winners received mostly cash prizes and were invited to take part in a second phase of the challenge.

NASA chief Bill Nelson said the contest was designed primarily with longer missions to more distant destinations in mind.

Nelson said the space agency needed food that can help when on missions to Mars.

Former astronaut Scott Kelly, who spent about a year on the International Space Station (ISS), said the food on the ISS was adequate, but that "growing, preparing and eating good food makes you feel connected to home."