Agence France-PresseOctober 10, 2019 9:40:08 AM IST
The chances of astronauts being thrown into a roast dinner have increased slightly after a successful experiment with a 3D printer created meat on the International Space Station.
The bioprinter produced tissue from beef, rabbit and fish using magnetic fields in microgravity, a Russian medical technology company involved in the experiment said on Wednesday.
The experiment – an international collaboration involving US, Russian and Israeli companies – was launched in September by a cosmonaut Oleg Skripochka in the Russian segment of the station, a 3D printer developed in Moscow.
The creators say he is the first to produce a small amount of artificial meat under conditions of weightlessness.
"It's one small bite for man, one giant bite for humanity," said Yusef Khesuani of 3D Bioprinting Solutions, a Russian lab that created the bioprinter.
The laboratory was founded by Invitro, a large Russian private medical company.
The Roscosmos Space Agency funded an experiment of national importance.
"It was really a step forward for both Roscosmos and Russia as a whole," said Nikolai Burdeiny, executive director of the state space corporation, which includes Roscosmos.
"For us, it was the first experience of international scientific collaboration in space," Khesuani said, using cells provided by Israeli and US food technology companies.
"Thank God the experiment went well … All the cells showed good results in space," he added.
Astronauts eat meat on a vacuum-packed ship or on Earth's drought, but this technology may ultimately be required for long voyages to deep space, said veteran cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko.
"If we're going to fly further from Earth to other planets of the solar system, we can't take that amount of food with us," he said AFP, "In any case, we will have to grow and produce food on a spaceship."
"I think progress is evolving very quickly, with science and knowledge, and I think it will be within our lives," he said.
Making more meat in the Russian segment will require more complex equipment than the current printer, Khesuani said.
"Then we can create not only small objects, but also large ones made of a large mass of cells."
"I hope we will continue with these experiments."
Other space agencies are also conducting experiments in this area because the creation of human tissue in space is easier than under gravitational conditions.
A US 3D printer introduced at the station in July can produce human tissue and is also used for European Space Agency experiments.
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