In an attempt to make human beings a multi-planetary species, space agencies like NASA have long been trying to create a permanent colony on Mars. However, the journey to Mars will not be very easy, as astronauts will face several challenges that include space radiation and the supply of food. In an attempt to overcome the challenges associated with food supply, NASA in collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency and the Privy Council Office (PCO) has launched the Deep Space Food Challenge.

NASA offers prize money of $500,000

Under the Deep Space Food Challenge program, scientific foodies have the opportunity to win prize money of $500,000, if they find a way to feed astronauts more efficiently in deep space. 

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According to the Deep Space Food Challenge website, scientific foodies from all over the world can provide their ideas or systems that ''require minimal inputs and maximize safe, nutritious, and palatable food outputs for long-duration space missions, and which have potential to benefit people on Earth."

With this program, the space agency is trying to find an effective way to provide nutritious food in the challenging space environment. The new technique should produce less waste, and it should not increase the weight of the spacecraft. 

Food scientists have the opportunity to register until May 28, 2021. After analyzing the inputs provided by the participants, NASA will award $25,000 to up to 20 teams. 

Advancement in technology could catalyze future space missions

"NASA has knowledge and capabilities in this area, but we know that technologies and ideas exist outside of the agency. Raising awareness will help us reach people in a variety of disciplines that may hold the key to developing these new technologies," Grace Douglas, NASA lead scientist for advanced food technology at Johnson Space Center told UPI. 

NASA is currently gearing up with the Artemis mission aimed at landing humans on the moon to set up a colony on the lunar surface. According to space experts, setting up a human colony on the moon is very vital to achieve the ultimate aim of human colonization on Mars.