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Testing Cultivated Meat in Space

This week, four SpaceX crew members will conduct the first-ever experiments on cultivated meat in space. The historic Axiom-1 mission is the first fully private spaceflight to the International Space Station, and among other experiments, will test the effects of microgravity on the formation of Aleph Farms’ cultured muscle tissue.

Scheduled to launch on April 8, the SpaceX Dragon crew includes Israeli philanthropist Eytan Stibbe, who will reportedly transport Aleph Farmer’s “Lab-on-a-Chip” device aboard the ISS and connect it to the station’s power and monitoring systems, which will be overseen by researchers on Earth. Developed in partnership with SpacePharma, Lab-on-a-Chip is described as a microfluidic device that carries living cells in a nutrient-rich growth medium.

Once onboard the ISS, Aleph researchers hope to discover how a microgravity environment impacts the proliferation and differentiation of bovine cells used in its cultivated steak.

A better cultivation platform

“Understanding processes in such an extreme environment, like space, will allow us to eventually develop an automated, closed-loop system that can produce steaks during long-term space missions. Similar to car manufacturers and Formula One, in space we are developing the most efficient processes under the toughest environments,” says Aleph Farms.

“Extended exploration in space, such as traveling to Mars, is limited by the ability to provide astronauts with quality nutrition,” states an Axiom spokesperson. “Aleph Farms is developing a technology platform for producing cultured beef steaks in a process that consumes a significantly lower portion of the resources needed to raise a whole animal for meat.”

Growing research support

Several days ago, the European Space Agency (ESA) announced a project for exploring the possibility of cultivating meat in space. Agency experts will assess astronaut nutrition and various means of protein production in space, and present a preliminary design for space-based cultured meat production, reports Republic World.

All of this research will likely contribute to the improvement of cultivated meat systems on Earth.

“The processes we are validating in space can then be transferred to our mainstream production on Earth to help us increase efficiencies…Our space program will ultimately help us develop more sustainable and resilient food systems anywhere.”


Source: Vegconomist

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