Mon. Oct 14th, 2019

Beef grown in space shows what astronauts could eat during trips to Mars and beyond

2 min read

circa 1998: An artist's impression of the completed International Space Station. (Photo by NASA/Space Frontiers/Getty Images)

The artificial meat was ‘printed’ aboard the International Space Station (Image: Nasa/ Space Frontiers/  Getty Images)

We’ve all gone on holiday and realised we’ve forgotten some crucial bit of luggage.

But what is a bit annoying in Magaluf could be lethal on Mars, because when you’ve neglected to pack important kit there’s no way of popping to the shops to buy replacements.

The most important part of any long space journey is likely to be food, which currently has to be carried from Earth.

Considering an odyssey from our planet to Mars and back will take years, it’s hard to see how enough food could be packed to sustain astronauts for such a long time.

Now an Israeli company has given us a vision of how spacemen and women could feed themselves after growing meat aboard the International Space Station.

Aleph Farms hailed its achievement as ‘one small step for man and one giant leap for mankind’.

It successfully used 33 bioprinting technology to mimic the natural processes which let a cow grow muscle.

This technology could be used on long spaceflights as well as given everyone on Earth ‘unconditional access to safe and nutritious meat anytime, anywhere, while using minimal resources’.

‘In space, we don’t have 10,000 or 15,000 Liter (3962.58 Gallon) of water available to produce one Kg (2.205 Pound) of beef,’ said Didier Toubia, Co-Founder and CEO of Aleph Farms.

‘This joint experiment marks a significant first step toward achieving our vision to ensure food security for generations to come, while preserving our natural resources.

‘This keystone of human achievement in space follows Yuri Gagarin’s success of becoming the first man to journey into outer space, and Neil Armstrong’s 50th anniversary this year, celebrating the moment when the first man walked on space.’

Lembit Opik, a former MP who is now chairman of parliament for the ‘space nation; Asgardia’, added: ‘As more humans become more comfortable in space in future and spend longer living away from Earth, the taste and quality of food is going to become more important.

‘Currently, most astronauts treat food like fuel, although problems still arise in the space of the six months aboard the ISS.

‘There are also interesting discussions about the future of alcohol, while it’s currently banned, it seems unlikely that something that has been around for as long as civilisation itself will suddenly be cast aside.’

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