Here’s a mission that pays out of this world.
NASA will pay a scientific foodie up to $500,000 if they can discover a way to feed astronauts more efficiently in deep space.
(NASA’s “Deep Space Food Challenge” iStock)
The “Deep Space Food Challenge,” in collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency and the Privy Council Office (PCO), is a competition aimed at serving up food technologies or systems “that require minimal inputs and maximize safe, nutritious, and palatable food outputs for long-duration space missions,” according to a description on its website.
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The space agencies are trying to find a more feasible way to use tech to bring nutritious food into the restricted spacecraft environment, but not weigh the spacecraft down, or produce more waste. The contest specifically calls for creators to find a variety of “palatable, nutritious, and safe foods that requires little processing time for crew members,” which indicates that taste is a factor, too.
The Deep Space Food Challenge’s website stipulates that this tech should be designed to feed a crew of up to four astronauts over the course of a three-year period. Scientists who want to cook up an idea have until May 28 to register. NASA will award $25,000 to up to 20 teams.
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“NASA has knowledge and capabilities in this area, but we know that technologies and ideas exist outside of the agency,” Grace Douglas, NASA lead scientist for advanced food technology at Johnson Space Center in Houston, told UPI.
“Raising awareness will help us reach people in a variety of disciplines that may hold the key to developing these new technologies,” she added.