NASA astronauts are preparing to eat the first crop of fresh food grown in space – red romaine lettuce. A certain algae, created out of carbon, can also be used to feed the yeast. Such a method, as distasteful as it sounds, could prove vital if we’re ever to embark on journeys into deep space, as the amount of food required would be impossible to carry from Earth.
Astronauts were only able to eat freeze-dried foods which came from Earth and sent to them.
On August 10 Kelly and fellow Expedition 44 crew members harvested the second batch of space crops sent up to the global Space Station (ISS). This research made aboard the worldwide Space Station (ISS) is a huge milestone for space exploration because sending space cargoes back and forth would be pretty costly and impractical especially in far off places. But now, they have the knowledge that food generation in space is possible. Not quite, anyway. In search fof a solution, NASA turned to researchers at Clemson University in South Carolina, who plan to create an effective way of turning human waste into food using bioprocessing technologies. And the best part is that these plants also play a great role in processing human waste.
Now, we’ve certainly heard of re-purposing animal poop for fertilizer, but feeding the astronauts recycled human poop just feels like a form of cruel and unusual punishment. Human urine contains Nitrogen in high levels and this is one of the components that is needed to grow yeast.
“These early career researchers will provide fuel for NASA’s innovation engine,” said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate.
“A particular strain of yeast can be genetically manipulated to create polymers, or plastics, used for 3D printing, as well as Omega 3s, which lower heart disease risk, and protect skin and hair”, Mark Blenner, professor at Clemson, was quoted as saying in a Quartz report.