This week, Israel-based cellular agriculture startup Aleph Farms launched Aleph Zero, a new program that aims to grow cell-based meat in space and other extraterrestrial environments. The company launched the program to resolve a long-standing barrier in long-distance space travel: the production of nutritious food in environments not suited for traditional agriculture.

“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,” Aleph Farms Co-Founder and CEO Didier Toubia said. “The term  also represents the company’s vision for producing meat with near-zero natural resources.”

In October 2019, Aleph Farms successfully grew a beef steak from a small amount of animal cells outside of the cow on the International Space Station—showing that growing meat in a remote setting is possible. The Aleph Zero program expands on the concept and will form strategic partnerships with technology companies and space agencies to integrate its cell-based technology into leading space programs. 

The long-term collaborative effort will result in the establishment of BioFarms, where meat can be grown to feed space travelers. The lessons learned through the Aleph Zero program will be applied on Earth. “The constraints imposed by deep-space-exploration—the cold, thin environment, and the circular approach—force us to tighten the efficiency of our meat production process to much higher sustainability standards,” Toubia said. “The program ‘Aleph Zero’ reflects our mission of producing quality, delicious meat locally where people live and consume it, even in the most remote places on Earth like the Sahara Desert or Antarctica, providing unconditional access to high-quality nutrition to anyone, anytime, anywhere. When people will live on the Moon or Mars, Aleph Farms will be there as well.”

The company will begin pilot production of its cell-based meat in 2021 and commence construction of its first BioFarm. Aleph Farms is planning a pilot commercial launch by the end of 2022.