Astronauts living on the International Space Station get regular deliveries via cargo spacecraft with food and essentials but when NASA sends the first humans to Mars those deliveries will take months and astronauts can’t wait that long.
The U.S. space agency is looking for ideas to improve food production on the red planet that meet several important requirements. These technologies must require minimal resources and produce minimal waste while also providing astronauts the nutrients they need for long-duration missions.
To help find solutions to this problem, NASA launched the Deep Space Food Challenge where the potential winner could earn up to $500,000.
In January, NASA launched the first phase of the challenge. There are multiple stages to this first part of the challenge and the first round of winners will be selected in September. Teams must register by May 28 and submit their ideas by July 30.
NASA is seeking ideas to fulfill the following goals: fill food gaps for a three-year round-trip mission with no resupply and feed a crew of four people.
Additionally, the space agency is looking for ideas and technology to improve accessibility of food on Earth including in harsh environments and achieve maximum food output with minimal waste and effort. Similar to other technologies developed for purposes in space, they often can be used to improve life on Earth, too.
Watch the video below to learn more about the competition and visit www.deepspacefoodchallenge.org to learn more about the challenge. The NASA competition is only open to U.S. residents but Canada and other international partners are also looking for ideas.