Food company Aleph Farms has announced that alongside its partners, an experiment on the Russian side of the International Space Station resulted in the successful cultivation of beef steak in space. The experiment took place in late September and involved the use of a bioprinter, according to Aleph Farms, a startup that specializes in lab-grown meat.
Lab-grown meat is an interesting, but not yet commercially viable, alternative to raising animals for slaughter. The idea behind the technology is simple: the Earth only has so many resources and reducing the use of those resources is vital in order to protect the environment and feed the world’s growing population.
Meat produced using these technologies only requires a fraction of the space, water, and nutrients of livestock; it also comes with the added benefit of being cruelty-free. We’ve seen the successful production of lab-grown meat on Earth, but Aleph Farms says that it and its partners have successfully produced this type of meat in space, specifically in the ISS’s microgravity environment.
The experiment happened late last month in the Russian section of the ISS. Aleph calls this a proof-of-concept experiment, one that offers important research for what may eventually lead to the establishment of a meat production ‘farm’ in the space around Earth. Doing so would offer a new way to produce meat without using land, also enabling production to sidestep interference from climate change.
In a statement, Aleph Farms’ co-found and CEO Didier Toubia said:
In space, we don’t have 10,000 or 15,000 Liter (3962.58 Gallon) of water available to produce one Kg (2.205 Pound) of beef. This joint experiment marks a significant first step toward achieving our vision to ensure food security for generations to come, while preserving our natural resources. This keystone of human achievement in space follows Yuri Gagarin’s success of becoming the first man to journey into outer space, and Neil Armstrong’s 50th anniversary this year, celebrating the moment when the first man walked on space.