Space Explores New Science for Food Industry

The final frontier opens up opportunities for food makers and Europe’s space agency pushes its latest technologies at the massive food fair in Paris this week.

The European Space Agency (ESA) said this week at the end-products food show SIAL that the current focus for its scientists is to solve the problem of food production on long space missions to Mars – a conundrum that could bring new production methods to the food industry. “We cannot grow every type of plant so we have to select a few which can be the basis for multiple dishes. At the moment we are experimenting with eight plants, but we may have to raise this number,” said Christophe Lasseur, ESA’s biological life support coordinator, responsible for recycling and production of air, water and food for long-term manned missions.

A mission to Mars is likely to last at least 24 months, six to go, six to return and 12 months on the planet. With the criteria ‘the less food to transport from Earth the better’, the initial objective is that food grown in space should cover 5 to 10 per cent during the mission and 40 to 50 per cent during a stay on another planet, a challenge for the food technologists. The European Space Agency activities follow similar reports from the US equivalent agency NASA earlier this year that said it was targeting a range of crops, including: lettuce, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, onions, cabbage, bell peppers, strawberries, fresh herbs, and radishes. Other baseline crops that require processing would be wheat, soybeans, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, peanuts, dried beans, rice, and tomatoes.
The Source

Tooling Up for Hydroponics

Leave a Comment