Astronaut food helps people on Earth
For hundreds of years people in South America and Africa have harvested a special kind of bacteria called spirulina. It turns carbon dioxide into oxygen, grows very quickly, and perhaps best of all, can be combined with foods to boost their protein levels.
Scientists from ESA’s Micro-Ecological Life Support System Alternative team (MELiSSA for short) have been finding out all they can about spirulina. It could be the ideal space food, as it can be made into snacks to keep astronauts happy and healthy. ESA astronauts Samantha Cristoforetti and Andreas Mogensen have already eaten spirulina cereal bars in space!
Now this knowledge of spirulina is being used to help people back on Earth. In the Congo is a town called Bikoro. The people there eat a plant called cassava, but unfortunately this does not provide much protein in their diet. Could spirulina help?
Cool fact: Spirulina is also very resistant to radiation that is found in outer space!