Israeli lab-grown food company Aleph Farms on Monday claimed a world’s, or rather, a galaxy’s first, announcing that it has successfully grown small-scale muscle tissue on the International Space Station, which the company points out is “248 miles away from any natural resources.”
Aleph Farms says it uses the natural process of muscle-tissue regeneration in a lab setting to grow its steaks. The Sept. 26 experiment was conducted in the Russian segment of the ISS, using a 3D bioprinter developed by Russia’s 3D Bioprinting Solutions. The U.S.’s Meal Source Technologies and Finless Foods also collaborated on the experiment.
Not only does the experiment prove that astronauts may one day grow their own steaks, the company says, but it shows that Aleph’s technology could be used anywhere on Earth, despite access to water and other resources. Growing cows for slaughter is one of the most resource-heavy food production processes for the planet, which is why many startups are seeking to replace beef, whether through cultivated or plant-based meat.
“In space, we don’t have 10,000 or 15,000 liters of water available to produce one kilogram of beef,” Didier Toubia, co-founder and CEO of Aleph Farms, said in the press release. “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.”
While Aleph had Earth’s climate crisis in mind when conducting this experiment, 30 Japanese companies launched a consortium this year to figure out how to feed people in space. But hopefully, all of the solutions currently in the works will mean we won’t have to flee to another planet for survival.