As part of goals to begin long-term stays on the moon's surface in the late 2030s, a Japanese government-led project to promote the development of technology to cultivate and supply food outside Earth is set to take off.
The government envisages a system to maximize the use of organic waste on the moon base as raw material and efficiently produce highly nutritious food. The technology is expected to help in the Artemis U.S. missions to send people to the moon, which Japan is also participating in, thereby heightening Japan's international reputation in food resources.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries is calling for applications until the end of September from joint venture groups to outsource the project to. The entrusted period would be five years ending in fiscal 2025. In fiscal 2021, a maximum budget of 310 million yen (about $2.8 million) is expected to be allocated for the project.
Currently, space food is made and processed on Earth to be taken into space, but an individual connected to the project said, "It's estimated that per kilogram, it costs somewhere around the 100-million-yen (some $900,000) level to take the food to the moon some 380,000 kilometers from Earth."
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency plans to establish a base on the moon in the first half of the 2030s and have four people spend around 500 days on it between 2035 and 2040. Therefore, it is necessary to address food issues by that time.
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