Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) experts, together with their partners, are developing food for future expeditions to the Moon in order for their participants to have adequate nutrition and a variety of meals during long-term stays there, the Japanese national paper The Asahi Shimbun reports
It is assumed that a full menu will be available on the Moon approximately by 2040, if one or more permanent stations will be in operation there. The main idea is to produce the main bulk of food products and edible substances directly on the Moon, delivering only some foods from the Earth. Ideally, scientists want to achieve a complete cycle that will include not only the production of food, but also, food waste recycling.
As prototypes of dishes that Moon-farers will be able to taste in 20 years, JAXA presented a steak from lab-grown beef and chicken cells, algae cream soup and sushi - a combination of fish imitation made from tuna cells and rice-based ingredients.
Recently, Japan has been displaying a great interest in Moon exploration. In particular, a number of big companies, including the automobile giant Toyota, decided to participate in developing an innovative manned lunar rover whose cabin will be equipped in a way that will allow people inside not to wear spacesuits. In addition, some proposals for the development of the Earth's satellite include the creation of a residential module with housing capacity to accommodate up to 1000 people by 2040.
It's noteworthy that experiments on 3D printing of living tissue, as well as meat and fish, are already underway on the ISS. In December 2018, the 3D bioprinter was installed on the ISS, and by now, the on-board international expert team have printed a murine thyroid gland and human cartilage tissue. The structure of the tissue obtained is fully consistent with the norms. The 3D bioprinter is built to grow meat from muscle cells in zero gravity conditions. In the next experiment, scientists plan to send beef and fish cells to the ISS by August 2019. This experiment is called to help find solutions for providing astronauts with food during long-term flights.