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Deep Space Food Challenge Phase 1

Help Feed the Next Generation of Space Explorers!


Total Cash Prizes Offered: $500,000
Type of Challenge: Creative (multimedia & design), Ideas, Scientific
Partner Agencies | Non-federal: Canadian Space Agency (CSA), Methuselah Foundation
Submission Start: 01/12/2021 11:00 AM ET
Submission End: 07/30/2021 06:00 PM ET


The Deep Space Food Challenge seeks to create novel food production technologies or systems that require minimal inputs and maximize safe, nutritious, and palatable food outputs for long-duration space missions, and which has a potential to benefit people on Earth.

NASA and CSA are focused on how to provide crew members with a viable food system for all long duration planetary missions, specifically an integrated solution providing:

  • All daily nutritional needs
  • A variety of palatable and safe food choices
  • Acceptable, safe and quick preparation methods
  • Limited resource requirements and no dependency on direct periodic resupply from Earth over durations increasing from months to years

NASA and CSA will need to provide its crew members with nutritional foods they will want to eat and enjoy eating within all of the constraints of current technology for life away from Earth. NASA must also ensure that the process to create, grow, and/or prepare the food is not time consuming and unpleasant. Although there are many food systems on Earth that may offer benefits to space travelers, the ability of these systems to meet spaceflight demands has not yet been established.

The Deep Space Food Challenge will seek to meet these needs by identifying and fostering the development and demonstration of novel technologies, systems, and/or approaches for food production for long duration space exploration missions.

Additionally, food insecurity is a significant, chronic problem on Earth in both urban and rural communities. Disasters that disrupt supply chains, on which all people depend, further aggravate food shortages. Developing compact and innovative advanced food system solutions could have applications in home and community-based local food production, providing new solutions for humanitarian responses to floods and droughts, and new technologies for rapid deployment following disasters.

Key Dates

  • January 12, 2021 - Phase 1 Opens for Registration & Submission
  • May 28, 2021 - Phase 1 Registration Closes for U.S. & Other International Teams
  • July 30, 2021 - Phase 1 Registration Closes for Canadian Teams
  • July 30, 2021 - Phase 1 Submissions Due for all Teams
  • September 2021 - Phase 1 Winner(s) Announced


Total Cash Prize Pool

Phase 1 of the Deep Space Food Challenge is a prize competition with a total prize purse made up of $500,000 USD, (five hundred thousand United States dollars) and $300,000 CAD (three hundred thousand Canadian dollars) to be awarded to competitor teams for the design of novel food production technologies for long duration space exploration missions.

Prize Breakdown

NASA Prize Purse for U.S. Teams

Up to 20 top scoring U.S. Teams that achieve a score in five or more of the scoring categories will receive $25,000 USD each from NASA and be invited to compete in Phase 2 (should Phase 2 open for competition). Teams must meet the eligibility requirements for the NASA Prize in order to be eligible to receive a prize from NASA.

CSA Prize Purse for Canadian Teams

Up to 10 top scoring Canadian Teams will receive $30,000 CAD each from CSA and be invited to compete in Phase 2 (should Phase 2 open for competition). Teams must meet the eligibility requirements for the CSA Prize in order to be eligible to receive a prize from CSA.

Non-monetary Prizes

Recognition for Other International Teams

The 10 top scoring Teams will be recognized as Challenge winners. Teams must meet the eligibility requirements for participating in the Challenge.


For challenge rules and eligible requirements visit:

NOTE: Eligibility requirements may vary between the NASA and CSA

Judging Criteria

Judging Panel

The Deep Space Food Challenge will have distinct Judging Panels for U.S. and Canadian Teams; and a combined Judging Panel for Other International Teams. The Judging Panels will communicate and collaborate throughout the entirety of the Challenge.

Following the Phase 1 submission deadline, the Judging Panels will review the submissions and discuss, evaluate, and rank the entries. Each Judging Panel has discretion in the assessment and scoring of submissions and in recommending the winners. NASA and CSA will review the recommendations from their respective Judging Panels, validate the recommendations as required by their Agency, and select final winners for awards.

Judging Criteria

The Judging Panels will evaluate designs according to the criteria defined on page 14 of the Official Rules Document (

The criteria categories include:

  • Overall Criteria:

    • Adherence to Constraints
    • Design Approach and Innovation
    • Scientific and Technical Merit
    • Feasibility of Design
    • Terrestrial Potential
  • Performance Criteria:

    • Acceptability
    • Safety
    • Resource Inputs/Outputs
    • Reliability/Stability

How to Enter

All interested Teams will register for the Challenge by the deadline and meet the eligibility requirements in order to participate in the Challenge and win a prize. For all Teams, the registration links will be provided through the official Challenge websites: ( Registration and eligibility requirements may vary between the NASA and CSA. All Teams should refer to the Challenge website ( for a full description of the registration process and eligibility requirements.

Point of Contact

Have feedback or questions about this challenge? Send the challenge manager an email