I love looking for technological developments that have unintended positive impacts elsewhere.
One of those areas of my interest is developing desirable food with diverse nutritious value that would be significantly less resource intensive to produce in space, to support human expansion beyond earth, such as in a cis-lunar or a Martian habitat.
As a meat eater by necessity, I fully support and will embrace attempts to reproduce the mastication experience and nutritional value of eating meat without being meat.
If it looks like a duck and smells like a duck, but doesn't require the same resources or effort to produce, then put it on my plate and keep the actual ducks in the pond!
This does raise the ethical question of biological diversity both on and beyond earth, should we have no need to farm animals anymore. Would we actually be doing harm if there are no human need for farming animals like cows and sheep, whose populations have flourished since the agricultural revolution? I can't see us keeping kangaroos as pets in space, or will we need to if we want to truly mimic our biosphere?
I'd love to help some of the startups developing artificial animal meat products test their products on the space station. If we're going to have a cis-lunar economy and Martian settlements by 2045, then we need to be able to support a more diverse range of humans with different dietary requirements. We can't select all future astronauts as we do now, and there's surely a great psychological benefit if we can provide earthly foods that (ironically) don't seem like we're produced in a lab as most space certified and packaged food is today.
While Elon Musk is focussing on the logistics side of making humans a multillanetary species, I think this is a much more important and significant challenge.
What do you think?
“The Coming Obsolescence of Animal Meat” by Olga Khazan https://link.medium.com/hXM0S5QKZV