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NASA, Canadian Space Agency Launch Deep Space Food Challenge
USAgNet - 01/13/2021

Astronauts need hearty nutrients to maintain a healthy diet in space, but like any of us, they want their food to taste good, too! As NASA develops concepts for longer crewed missions to Mars and beyond, the agency will need innovative and sustainable food systems that check all the boxes.

In coordination with the Canadian Space Agency, NASA has opened the Deep Space Food Challenge. The goal is to generate novel food production technologies or systems that require minimal resources and produce minimal waste, while providing safe, nutritious, and tasty food for long-duration human exploration missions.

"We are excited to coordinate with the Canadian Space Agency to conduct this challenge and push the boundaries of food technology production that will help keep our future explorers healthy, knowing that some of these technologies could also have great terrestrial applications," said Jim Reuter, associate administrator for NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate at the agency's headquarters in Washington.

Advanced food systems will have benefits here on Earth, too. Solutions from this challenge could enable new avenues for food production around the world, especially in extreme environments, resource-scarce regions, and in new places like urban areas and in locations where disasters disrupt critical infrastructure.

"With the Deep Space Food Challenge, we are asking Canadians to find innovative ways to produce food in deep space that could also help those living in remote regions with harsh environments, such as Canada's northern communities," said Lisa Campbell, President of the Canadian Space Agency. "Together with our partners, we are leading on space innovations that will also improve the lives of Canadians."

Interested participants from the United States can compete for part of a prize purse of up to $500,000 from NASA in Phase 1 of the competition by designing food systems that can provide adequate nutrition for future long-duration mission explorers. Depending on the technologies presented, a possible second phase, involving a kitchen demonstration, could follow.

The Canadian Space Agency will host a parallel competition with a separate application and judging process, as well as its own prize purse, for participating Canadian teams. Qualifying teams from other countries may compete but will not be eligible for monetary prizes.

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