In a major development, astronauts have grown meat in space for the very first time.
The work, done with the help of Israel-based food tech company Aleph Farms, would not only give Earthlings an endless supply of nutritious slaughter-free beef but also ensure unlimited food for long-term deep-space missions.
Here's all you need to know about it.
Lab-grown beef similar to natural one
Back in 2018, the folks at Aleph Farms achieved a major breakthrough by demonstrating the technology to cook up, what was described as, the world's first lab-grown steak.
It tasted well and, most importantly, had the nutritional value, structure, and texture similar to the kind of natural beef one finds at the supermarket.
The development raised Aleph's hopes of supplying lab-grown meat worldwide.
Now, the same tech has been used in space
Now recently, the astronauts aboard International Space Station employed Aleph's tech to cook up a tiny piece of beef in space in controlled microgravity.
They coaxed bovine cells, harvested from Earth and taken to ISS, with a 3D bioprinter developed by Russian company 3D Bioprinting Solutions, mimicking the process of tissue regeneration inside a cow's body and producing a small muscle tissue.
Major step towards providing unlimited fresh meat
The first-of-a-kind experiment conducted by the astronauts in the Russian segment of ISS proves Aleph Farms' tech can be used even in the harshest of conditions to produce meat.
This can eventually be employed to provide fresh beef/meat to astronauts living aboard the ISS or those heading on deep space missions to Moon, Mars, or perhaps beyond.
Plus, there would be food security without natural resources' exploitation
Along with space missions, Aleph's technology, if scaled and improved properly, could provide a source of real meat for people living in different parts of the world.
Also, as the supply would be unlimited, lab-grown meat could be the key to provide food security for future generations to come while keeping natural resources and livestock intact.
Here's what Aleph's CEO said about their solution
"We are proving cultivated meat can be produced anytime, anywhere, in any condition," Aleph CEO Didier Toubia told The Guardian. "We can potentially provide a powerful solution to produce the food closer to the population needing it, at the exact and right time it's needed."