NASA teamed up with the Canadian Space Agency to organize the Deep Space Food Challenge. The program's goal is to create new food technologies for astronauts and develop ways to grow food in space. This problem is important for future missions to deep space.
According to the information on the challenge website, the duration of space missions is increasing, so the space agencies are faced with the task of creating food systems that will allow growing food directly on board the spacecraft.
The main task of the participants of the Deep Space Food Challenge is to create a compact system for growing food that can provide food for four members of the space crew.
The competition organizers will give 25 thousand dollars to 20 participants and 30 thousand dollars to another 10 participants to implement the first stage of the idea. In the second stage, the two winning teams must demonstrate the kitchen model, and in the final stage, they must present the complete food growing system.
The results of the challenge will be announced in 2023. In addition to American and Canadian teams, International teams are also allowed to participate in the challenge, but they will have to submit projects at their own expense.
NASA has banned Chinese companies from participating in the competition.
In late 2020, astronauts harvested radishes for the first time at the International Space Station. It was grown as part of the Plant Habitat-02 experiment at the Advanced Plant Habitat (APH) orbital laboratory.