Space Exploration Master


ESA, WHO with ASI and CNES are seeking innovative keys to open up the current stressors to a healthy food provision for Space Exploration missions


Terrestrial environmental hazards, e. g. radiation, toxic pollutants and contaminants, impact many aspects of life that are inextricably linked to health and food. To address this, WHO has a key role to play advancing both mitigation and adaptation strategies for climate and environmental change, working in collaboration with ESA and other stakeholders.

Just like environments on Earth can be hazardous, the space environment also turns out to be dangerous for human beings in Space, e. g . astronauts, plants and animals. ESA is constantly performing activities including but not limited to: astronaut missions, ground-based experiments and technology demonstrations related to food concerns to assure sustainable survivability in Space. Hence the importance of checklists procedures, nutrition features, taste elements, preservation, packaging, food generation in Space, etc.

The "remove before flight" challenge aims to stimulate the global community of problem-solvers to come up with new ideas to overcome the barriers to taking charge of humankind’s spaceship towards other non-terrestrial orbits, planets or celestial bodies.

The objective is to foster commercially viable business applications related to health and food issues, e. g. light-weight, compact, tasty and nutritious, of Space exploration missions. The applications are expected to promote the availability of safe, healthy and wholesome food for everyone and raise awareness to improve food and nutrition security on Earth.

The target groups for this challenge are bright teams of students, start-uppers, and young professionals teaming up with large entities, e. g. corporations and research institutes with an established capacity to deliver the solution to market at global level, specifically towards disadvantaged areas on Earth.


The most relevant value of this prize is the partnership of ESA with WHO, CNES and ASI. The winner will get a multifaceted visibility within these four stakeholder networks to advance the implementation of the idea.

The winner will receive:

  • Certificate of recognition as ESA Business Innovation Idea Master Award 2018:
  • A dedicated press release on the ESA Space Exploration Benefits website.:
  • Global exposure to Innovation: WHO technical experts discuss with the prize recipients the current needs of relevant space science and technologies to advance the health-related Sustainable Development Goals for Member States;
  • Space Exploration Engagement: three dedicated hours of coaching from ESA experts to apply to an ESA Space Exploration programme;
  • Space and non-Space Fertilization: Three dedicated hours of coaching from ESA Experts to apply to an ESA Business Applications funding programme;
  • CNES PRIZE: a dedicated visibility package with the sponsorship to attend the Award Ceremony in the fringes of The Space for Inspiration 2018 Conference in Bilbao (ES) on 29-31 October 2018;
  • ASI PRIZE:   a dedicated idea boost package including the characterization of a feasibility study for space mission concept; the matchmaking with Italian academia, labs and industrial players that could foster the related space-based payload development and the scouting of funding opportunities at national and international level –e. g. EU Horizon 2020, etc.-


Applications are going to be evaluated by a jury jointly membered by experts from ESA, WHO, ASI and CNES. The evaluation criteria are:

  • Relevance to the advancement of Space Exploration and the improvement of food and nutrition on Earth;
  • Ratio between market potential and feasible implementation in the short-medium term;
  • Aptness to foster industrial cooperation between Space and non-Space sectors;
  • Suitableness to enable innovation, and
  • Contribution to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals.


Applications are open:

14 May 2018
Last updated at 22 June 2018 - 12:02