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Deep Space Food Challenge

Astronauts need hearty nutrients to maintain a healthy diet in space, but like any of us, they want their food to taste good, too! As NASA develops concepts for longer crewed missions to Mars and beyond, the agency will need innovative and sustainable food systems that check all the boxes.

NASA astronaut and Crew-3 member Tom Marshburn looks at chiles growing inside of the Advanced Plant Habitat. Crew-3 performed the second harvest of chiles aboard the International Space Station for the Plant Habitat-04 experiment. This plant experiment, one of the station’s most complex to date because of the long germination and growing times, will add to NASA’s knowledge of growing food crops for long-duration space missions.

In coordination with the Canadian Space Agency, NASA has opened the Deep Space Food Challenge. The goal is to generate novel food production technologies or systems that require minimal resources and produce minimal waste, while providing safe, nutritious, and tasty food for long-duration human exploration missions. “NASA, in partnership with the Methuselah Foundation, will oversee United States and international competitors.”

Advanced food systems will have benefits here on Earth, too. Solutions from this challenge could enable new avenues for food production around the world, especially in extreme environments, resource-scarce regions, and in new places like urban areas and in locations where disasters disrupt critical infrastructure.

The Deep Space Food Challenge is a NASA Centennial Challenge, which is managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama and launched in parallel in Canada by the Canadian Space Agency. Subject matter experts at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida support the competition. Centennial Challenges are part of the Prizes, Challenges and Crowdsourcing program within NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. NASA has contracted the Methuselah Foundation to support the management of domestic and international competitors for this challenge. 

Ohio State Students to Test Space Food Solutions

NASA’s Centennial Challenges is finishing up the Deep Space Food Challenge through an eight-week demonstration and testing period this summer. Meet the four Ohio State University food science students demoing the five U.S. finalists’ technologies.

Meet the Simunauts about Ohio State Students to Test Space Food Solutions
The four Deep Space Food Challenge Simunauts stand next to each other, each looking in different directions away from the camera. From left to right: Charlie Frick, Fuanyi Fobellah, Sakura Sugiyama, and Mehr Un Nisa.


Kim Krome (Acting Program Manager)
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.

Media Inquiries
Jonathan Deal (Public Relations Officer)
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.

Deep Space Food Challenge Details

Join the Deep Space Food Challenge to help bring innovative food production technologies to space and here on Earth.

Visit the Website about Deep Space Food Challenge Details
A black plastic tray full of green alfalfa sprouts is in full focus, taking up much of the photo. In the background, slightly out of focus, a white man is wearing a navy t-shirt and light blue gloves as he works on preparing some sprouts to be eaten as samples. The background includes a large white bowl full of greens, small sample cups, and a bottle of oil. Behind the man is an incubation station where his team’s food system is displayed.