One of the many problems with living in outer space is that there’s not much to eat there. Israel-based Aleph Farms plans to fix that by growing cell-based, slaughter-free meat on other planets. On a serious note, the company hopes this can help alleviate food insecurity, regardless of how climate change continues to impact the Earth.
“Aleph Zero represents the mathematical symbol of the smallest infinite number, and how Aleph Farms brings space infinity closer by supporting deep-space exploration and colonization of new planets,” said Didier Toubia, Aleph Farms co-founder and CEO. “The term also represents the company’s vision for producing meat with near-zero natural resources.”
Last October, the cellular agricultural startup grew its first space steak on the International Space Station, using cells taken from a cow. Not only can astronauts and future space tourists enjoy cosmic carne, people in remote places like Antarctica and the Sahara Desert could reap meaty benefits from this new technology.
Aleph Farms has formed partnerships with space agencies and tech companies to pool knowledge about cellular biology, tissue engineering and food science. The company plans to establish large-scale BioFarms, with a pilot commercial launch of the space-grown meat by the end of 2022.
Toubia was trained as a food engineer and a biologist. Despite promoting slaughter-free meat, he’s not trying to turn the world vegan. “Our goal is to walk hand-in-hand with the meat industry to find ways to combine, integrate new methodologies for the industry to thrive,” he said in an interview published on Medium. “We don’t believe that we will replace animal farming. We’re actually keen on working together with the meat industry.”
Beef is the company’s main focus right now, as it’s more complex to grow than fish or poultry, according to Toubia; it is also the most resource-intensive meat. Aleph Farms is hoping to help an increasingly meat-hungry global public decease its carbon footprint. “I think that in order to be able to maintain the world as it is, we need to make sure that we balance all economic activity with more sustainable practices,” Toubia said. “I believe that the food industry we do have, as a whole, really overuses natural resources.”
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