NASA astronauts are planning to grow artificial meat to treat themselves to delicious steaks on the International Space Station (ISS), Daily Mail reported.
Astronauts on the ISS can eat a juicy and tender steak if they can perfect the technology of cultivating meat from beef cells in absence of gravity first.
The cultivation of artificial beef will be one of the experiments that the three astronauts would conduct on NASA’s first-ever space tourism mission.
The three astronauts including Canadian investor and philanthropist Mark Pathy, US entrepreneur Larry Connor, and ex-Israeli Air Force pilot Eytan Stibbe have reportedly paid a whopping $55 million (£41 million) each for the ride.
The trio, during their eight-day stay on the ISS, will try to produce tender and juicy meat.
The payload will include bovine cells, which will be sent up to the ISS to be grown under microgravity and turned into muscle tissue found in steaks.
The food-tech firm behind the concept, Aleph Farms, is a trailblazer in cultivating lab-grown beef steaks. The firm has produced the world’s first-ever 3D-bioprinted ribeye steak, and it had successfully grown meat in space for the first time in September In 2019.
Head of space research at Aleph Farms Dr Zvika Tamari, in an interview with MailOnline, said that the company has two major aims. Firstly, to provide steaks to space travellers on the moon or Mars, and second, to develop a market for low-cost beef here on Earth.
He said ‘To produce steak you have to grow cows for 2-3 years, feed them a lot, you need a lot of land, lots of fresh water and natural resources.’
‘But we can produce good, nutritious, tasty steak wherever, even in the most remote places, in about three weeks, he added.
‘And where is more remote than space? A harsh environment with no natural resources.’
Dr Tamari explained the process and said that they start with bovine cells, grow them in bio reactors and then multiply and diversify the cellular mass.
He told that this process then turns them into various cell types that exist in steak, which is muscle cells primarily, adipose or fat cells and collagen cells, which are very elastic.
‘So we take the cells that we grow and make them into tissue that resembles the steak you eat regularly,’ he added.