A look at the Canadian Space Agency’s Deep Space Food Challenge

Growing food on the International Space Station. Credit: CSA/NASA.

If humanity is to explore the Moon and beyond with long-duration astronaut missions, then we’ll need to learn how to grow food in different environments beyond Earth.

The Deep Space Food Challenge organized is a collaboration between NASA and Impact Canada with support from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). The challenge “seeks to create novel food production technologies that require minimal inputs (materials, energy, water, etc.) and maximize safe, nutritious, and palatable food.”

As well, learning how to grow food in space has benefits for those living in extreme environments such as Canada’s arctic. That’s where the Naurvik project comes. It’s “a collaboration between the Gjoa Haven community, the Arctic Research Foundation, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and the National Research Council Canada.”

According to the CSA “ensuring that astronauts have nutritious food is a critical part of all human space exploration missions, especially future missions to the Moon and Mars. Crews will likely have to produce food in space to meet their nutritional needs. Producing food in extreme or hostile environments like space is a challenge that many of Canada’s northern communities also face. These innovations will not only be used for long-duration space missions, but will also have the potential to benefit people on Earth, particularly in remote and harsh environments, such as Canada’s North.”

Recently the semi-finalists were chosen in Canada along with the winners in the U.S. and internationally. The Canadian semi-finalists now will proceed to Phase 2.

To explain the benefits, the Canadian Space Agency enlisted former astronaut Chris Hadfield and chef Lynn Crawford to discuss the challenges. Both are jury members.

About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive LLC. Boucher has 20+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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