As human space exploration expands, NASA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) are looking for innovative solutions to sustain astronauts on long missions. That’s why they host the Deep Space Food Challenge, inviting problem-solvers worldwide to design and test ways to provide nutritious and delicious food for astronauts on extended missions.
In the second phase of the competition, 11 finalists were selected from a pool of applicants, including eight teams from the United States and three international teams. These finalists use cutting-edge technologies to create food in space, such as using carbon dioxide and fungal proteins to cultivate food or closed-loop systems for growing greens and vegetables.
Each U.S. finalist will receive $20,000, with the potential for a maximum of 5 U.S. and three international teams to be awarded $150,000 each. The judges will visit the finalists’ facilities for evaluations, and the winners will be announced in April. The 11 Phase 2 finalists include InFynity, Nolux, Mu Mycology, Kernel Deltech USA, Interstellar Lab, Far Out Foods, SATED, Air Company, Enigma of the Cosmos, Solar Foods, and Mycorena. Team Hefvin was also recognized for their plans to scale their technology and received a $10,000 bonus prize.
Providing nutritious and sustainable food for astronauts on long missions is critical to deep space exploration. Space food must be compact, lightweight, and have a long shelf life, all while providing essential nutrients for astronauts to maintain their health and well-being. This competition is crucial in developing solutions for these challenges and advancing human space exploration.
The Deep Space Food Challenge represents a unique opportunity for scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs to contribute to the future of space exploration. With the support of NASA and CSA, the finalists will have access to resources and expertise to bring their innovative ideas to life. The competition winners will receive funding, recognition, and the opportunity to collaborate with NASA and CSA to advance their technologies and bring their solutions to the next level.
Human space exploration is an exciting and rapidly evolving field, and the Deep Space Food Challenge is a testament to this industry’s continued progress and growth. Leveraging some of the brightest minds in the area, NASA and CSA are leading the way in advancing astronaut’s food solutions and pushing the boundaries of deep space exploration. As a result, the future of space exploration is bright, and this Challenge is an essential step toward making long-duration missions a reality.