Someday, when the world has been rendered uninhabitable by Gwyneth Paltrow’s luxury self-care products, humanity will need to colonize other planets, beginning with Mars — and when we get there, we will probably want a cheeseburger. But the sheer cost of transporting livestock in SPACE (echoes) means that sustainable space burgers will remain nothing more than a fond dream… unless, that is, we can grow the meat artificially in outer space. Oh great, it looks like we already checked that box. The Guardian reports on the space meat breakthrough.
- An Israeli food technology startup, Aleph Farms, announced that is has successfully grown the world’s, or rather outer space’s, first artificial cosmic beef. Aleph grew the meat aboard the International Space Station, orbiting 248 miles above the Earth.
- Aleph launched a small sample of bovine muscle cells into space and then grew them into small-scale muscle tissue, building the tissue using a 3D bioprinter.
- One critical advantage of Aleph’s technology is that it doesn’t require large amounts of water, a precious commodity in outer space. Didier Toubia, co-founder and chief executive of Aleph Farms, tells The Guardian: “We can potentially provide a powerful solution to produce the food closer to the population needing it, at the exact and right time it is needed. In space, we don’t have 10,000 or 15,000 litres of water available to produce 1kg of beef.”
- In addition to feeding future space colonists, artificially grown meat could help reduce the environmental burden of livestock here on earth. Cattle and other food animals consume large amounts of resources and also emit (ahem) methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. That said, work is already underway to develop fuel-efficient animals.