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NASA’s new ‘Deep Space Food Challenge’ invites civilian designers to find new ways to feed astronauts in space

The space agency is putting up a $500,000 purse for winning designs

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This July 14, 2017, photo shows the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASAs Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida in Cape Canaveral, Fla.

Alex Sanz, Associated Press

While astronauts conduct groundbreaking experiments in the final frontier, it’s important they do their work with full bellies.

In an effort to identify food technology that more effectively provides astronauts with the nutritious meals they need, NASA is reaching out to civilian innovators.

NASA is teaming up with the Canadian Space Agency and Privy Council Office to sponsor the Deep Space Food Challenge, a competition where everyday creators can submit their designs for “novel and game-changing food technologies or systems that require minimal inputs and maximize safe, nutritious and palatable food outputs for long-duration space missions,” the contest’s official website states.

While NASA is equipped in producing such food items and technologies, Grace Douglas, NASA’s lead scientist for advanced food technology at Johnson Space Center, told UPI that they “know that technologies and ideas exist outside of the agency,” according to Food & Wine.

“Raising awareness will help us reach people in a variety of disciplines that may hold the key to developing these new technologies,” she said.

NASA’s Scientific and Technical Information Program jokingly reached out to Guy Fieri for help in a tweet. “Hey @GuyFieri, how about Diners, Drive-Ins, Dives & Deep Space?” the message read.

Fox News reports that NASA will be awarding $25,000 to as many as 20 of its top-scoring designers. NASA’s website mentions the possibility of dividing the contest into two phases, but doesn’t specify how the phase system works.

According to The Takeout, interested parties need to register for the competition by May 28, and concepts must be submitted no later than July 30.