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NASA awards good ideas to feed astronauts in space

NASA is prepared to pay $500,000 for a good idea to help feed astronauts on long-term space missions with something other than dried, packaged food from Earth.

The space agency has set a July 30 deadline on its Deep Space Food Challenge, when it will choose a winning idea. The Canadian Space Agency launched a similar challenge with phased awards totaling $500,000 that will result in a grand prize winner in 2024.

NASA needs new ideas for food that make the best use of limited resources and generate as little waste as possible, said Grace Douglas, NASA lead scientist for advanced food technology at Johnson Space Center in Houston.

"NASA has knowledge and capabilities in this area, but we know that technologies and ideas exist outside of the agency," Douglas said in an interview. "Raising awareness will help us reach people in a variety of disciplines that may hold the key to developing these new technologies."

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