The researchers at Clemson University in South Carolina will receive $200,000 a year for up to three years to achieve this task, the US space agency said in a statement.
Clemson University is one of the eight educational institution granted by space agency to study about technologies that would help astronauts survive in deep space mission.
NASA is planning to land humans on Mars by 2030 and is investing in ideas to figure out ways for astronauts to be more self-sufficient on long-term space missions.
Blenner also believes that the yeasts can even use human waste to produce tiny plastic chips that can be harvested and collected in a 3D printer to manufacture spare parts for deep space journeys.
Blenner stated that genetically engineering yeast could be the way to make the DYI project a reality. The research team will try to genetically engineer yeast to convert human waste into edible substance. Using 3-D printing, for instance, astronauts would be able to create pizzas with different toppings to enjoy while on space missions. On the other hand, the carbon they need will be present from the exhaled carbon dioxide from human breath.
“We think that having that additional component of fresh food grown on the station, would make the crew generally happier, and hopefully healthier”, according to Gioia Massa, head of plant growing technology in NASA.
Along with projects like the ones Blenner is attempting, NASA has also began researching better solar panels, as well as better “thermal protection for ships entering atmospheres”. His research will not provide a complete nutritious meal for the astronauts but can readily provide omega 3 fatty acids that are also present in fish and this can be an important step that can pave the way for astronauts to sustain themselves in space.
Unlike the expression “Eat poop and die!”
“If you want to send people into space for a long period of time, you cannot go down to the Home Depot to get screws, or the market to get food; as space is at a premium.”Blenner said”.