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11th April 2022  Content supplied by: Eternal

Eternal: To Boldly Go Where No Mycoprotein Has Gone Before

Eternal has secured a place in the Space Life Science Lab (SLSL) in NASA Kennedy Space Center as part of the ongoing collaboration with the University of North Dakota (UND) Human Spaceflight Laboratory.

With the NASA Deep Space Food Challenge playing a protagonistic role in this collaboration, Eternal started to utilize this new facility to pursue efforts to make it possible for crews to have a nutritious source of fresh food in deep space, be that on other planets or in spaceships.

Eternal has been working on an appliance that, combined with the life support systems of the spaceship, will be able to create a fungal-based ingredient - Mycofood - that is versatile enough to allow crews to “print” a variety of recipes by just pressing a button.

“Creating a burger or an ice cream should be as easy as choosing between a Latte or an Americano in a coffee machine,” explained Miguel Neumann, Eternal’s CFO, in a recent interview with Spectrum News, a local TV channel.

The invention, created and patented by Eternal, started with its founder’s desire of bringing good quality nutrition to every family’s home. Given how compact this complex device is, it became clear it was perfect for confined spaces - be that deep sea, Antarctica, or space.

Pablo de León, a long-term NASA collaborator - and confessed science-fiction fan- commented how the idea of “printing a meal by pressing a button” captured his imagination, bringing him memories of his youth watching Star Trek.

Pablo’s thorough understanding of how spaceship systems work is helping to make sure Eternal’s appliance has the right inputs and additional ingredients to operate.

The collaboration between the two teams has seen them win the first phase of the NASA Deep Space Food Challenge, and the crew of an analogue mission organized by the UND trying Eternal products.

Eternal expects to use this R&D facility as a platform to integrate other innovations the company is working on into efforts to make human spaceflight missions less reliant on an Earth-based supply chain, be that through construction materials that can be used and produced in space, or other applications of synthetic biology. ‍

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Date Published: 11th April 2022

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