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While NASA engineers and astrophysicists are planning the next missions to boldly go where no one has gone before, other experts are working on more fundamental issues, including how to feed astronauts on long-range spaceflights.
Methuselah Foundation, a biomedical charity focused on extending the healthy human lifespan, is working with NASA to encourage public collaboration to develop innovative, sustainable food production that can support space travelers. . Existing food storage systems alone cannot provide the nutrition needed to keep astronauts healthy.
The NASA Deep Space Food Challenge, launched in partnership with Methuselah Foundation, is focused on creating new ways to provide deep-space astronauts the nutrition they will need on their years-long journeys. The agency is partnering with Methuselah Foundation to incentivize the creation of revolutionary ways to feed deep-space mission crews. The partnership will fund a $1 million Deep Space Food Challenge Phase 2, a competition that will reward teams that design, build and demonstrate prototypes of food production technologies that deliver tangible nutritional products.
“The Challenge is immediately focused on the needs of space travelers, but it offers promise for people who will never leave the earth’s gravity by developing efficient, more sustainable ways to produce food,” said David Gobel, the Foundation’s co-founder and CEO. “The mission is to find ways to make high-quality nutrition available to optimize human health – whether that’s in deep-space, an urban center food desert or a remote area ravaged by famine.”