Future News: Spirulina Chosen For ISS And Long Space Voyages
While Spirulina as a whole Super Food has vast potential for feeding an ever expanding Earth population in need of sustainable high quality nutrition, it is also being evaluated for cultivating in space as an idea food source.
For long duration space excursions, whether on a space station orbiting the Earth such as the International Space Station - ISS - or future space flights to other planets or stars beyond our solar system, food and water is a very major consideration.
As well as a constant supply of clean, fresh water, sufficient food for the entire duration of the journey, which could well be months or even years, must be either stored on board and kept fresh somehow, or cultivated on an ongoing basis.
Another major consideration is quality of food, for providing a fully balanced diet of all nutrients, vitamins and minerals, including protein, that the body needs to maintain perfect health and vitality on an ongoing basis.
There are very few, if any conventional soil based food crops that meet these requirements, particularly as they tend to be seasonal, require a constant supply of water and nutrients and above all Sun compatible light.
NASA and The ISA have identified Spirulina as a perfect food meeting all nutritional and cultivation requirements.
Spirulina is a nutritionally complete and balanced Super Whole Food meeting many nutritional, mineral and vitamin requirements including a rich source of protein.
In addition, Spirulina has the following considerable benefits:
- Requires only water of the correct pH and nutritional content to grow
- Spirulina multiplies by dividing perpetually, and not through fertilization
- Spirulina grows constantly, and not subject to seasonal factors
- Can be grown in a completely self-contained environment known as a "photo bio-reactor"
- Will thrive under artificial Sun light within a photo bio reactor system
- Requires no intensive maintenance, only monitoring for pH and nutrients
- Easy to harvest through filtration which can be automated
And these are only a very few of the numerous major benefits of Spirulina for long-term space flights and exploration.
In addition to providing necessary nutrients, vitamins and minerals, Spirulina has numerous additional health benefits, many of which are directly relevant to long-term space conditions.
For example, it is very high in Chlorophyll which is remarkably similar to human blood, being based on Magnesium as opposed to Iron. Chlorophyll however otherwise behaves very similarly to blood with the particular benefit of being extremely efficient at transporting large volumes of Oxygen around the body - particularly beneficial to a space environment.
Spirulina is also extremely valuable for health generally, providing considerable protection against many health conditions that might otherwise be difficult to treat in space.
It is not surprising then that this Super Whole Food, the cultivation of which is ideal for a space vessel environment, has caught the attention of space agencies as a primary source of food for long-term space missions.