Under the premise that the quality of the food system is the first line of defense for the health and performance of the crew and that the variety of flavor and texture are vital, the Finnish company Solar Foods, a specialist in food technology, revolutionizes with its proposal of food made from nothing.
Solar Foods was one of the companies that responded to the call of NASA, which is especially interested in solving the food problem for a future launch of astronauts to Mars in the late 2030s or early 2040s, in a journey that could last between two and three years.
NASA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) launched the Deep Space Food Challenge (DSFC), they opened the invitation to present food solutions that involve a minimum of resources, do not generate a greater amount of waste and that are safe, nutritious and tasty foods.
It is a sustainable solution, from the company Solar Foods, one of the European winners of phase 2 of the DSFC, which proposes a protein source called Solein.
The company has carried out an analysis of the importance of feeding the crew where the most important thing is to provide the crew with food that the astronauts encourage them to eat, to maintain their energy levels and not lose weight.
How do they make this protein?
With the use of electricity, carbon dioxide and hydrogen, Solein is produced, elements that are available in a spacecraft, reveals Euro News.
With the three aforementioned elements and some minerals, they are introduced into a bioreactor to feed a microbe that grows and multiplies, thus giving rise to a “protein that can be dried into a powder and used as an ingredient in various recipes.”
Experts compare the manufacturing process of this protein with that of yeast fermentation, in contrast to the fact that instead of yeast, single-celled organisms found naturally on Earth are used for this process. Other differences is that “instead of feeding them with sugar, it feeds them with small gas bubbles.”