food, space, people, plant, jonathan, product, areas, crop, data, growing, challenge, developed, collaborate, talking, sensors, research, opportunities, tony, big, science
Dan Reus, Tony Sardella, Jonathan Volk, Thad Simons, Malia Gehan
Dan Reus 00:11
Hi, everybody, welcome. We're here to discuss space for food, which is an initiative to recognize and support innovators in the areas of sustainable food production on Earth and in space. Well, it might not be immediately obvious what the connection is between those two, I think our discussion is gonna, today is going to help you address that. And why does this matters not just for astronauts, but for people here on earth. And for actually all of us that this is really important in this gives us a great excuse to solve some of our larger space questions. So I want to introduce everybody. Jonathan, I'm gonna start with Jonathan Jonathan is Jonathan Volk is director of commercialization strategies at Space commerce matters, where the they help develop ecosystems of talent and accurate and economic opportunity around space. Jonathan, I want to start off with a question for you space for food is building on NASA's Deep Space food challenge, which is their effort to supply food for astronauts. I know you're, you know, you don't represent NASA. But you know, why do they do things like that? And what's the challenge? You know, what do you think is the opportunity here for ecosystems of talent here on earth?
Jonathan Volk 01:25
Thanks, Dan. Yeah, from a from a challenge standpoint, your NASA is obviously focused, as we hear now about going deeper and deeper into space. And there's sort of obviously basic necessities and things that go into that, obviously, sustainable food and being able to, to live in space. But really, space in general is used for a lot of it, a big portion of that is for benefit on the ground. So we utilize space to find out things, utilizing, you know, microgravity, the vantage point of space, things like that, to stuff we can take back on the ground. That's not just in the food industry, but a lot of other industries as well, in medicine, in materials, chemicals, etc. So I think with this food challenge, ness is not only interested in, in finding solutions that can help with space habitation in deep space exploration, but also to take the information we learn in space and apply it to more to better solutions on the ground related to food such as getting, being able to manufacture food, or create food in more remote areas, or things like that better food production techniques that can feed more people. So that's that's a big focus. And also that that the challenge focus is very key with NASA. Now you have the standard research calls it these tabs in certain areas, but solving big global challenges like food, sample food, and also other things related to sustainability, like climate change, and water conservation, things like that. It's becoming a big, a big trend, not just with NASA, but other organizations who want to use space, like national labs, other government agencies, and also commercial companies that want to really open up space to find solutions to these big, not just space based challenges, but also the solutions that can be applied back here on the ground.
Dan Reus 03:17
That's great, Jonathan, so that I want to go to you next. So you're with the yield lab Institute and the yield lab, which is a worldwide accelerator program for developing Food and Ag tech. So the things that Jonathan was talking about, how do those relate back to the food, the real food challenges here on earth? Why is this an opportunity for those of us that may never go higher than 40,000 feet?
Thad Simons 03:40
Well, thanks, Dan. And welcome, everyone. Yeah, the lab started about six years ago here in St. Louis to focus in investing in early stage ag tech and food tech companies. And we've grown to now have operations in Europe, Latin America, Asia, as well as still growing here. And we have about 55 portfolio companies that are working all different spaces across Food and Ag tech, from crop genetics, soil health, all the way supply chain and animal health nutrition. So we work across all those different areas and verticals. And is one of the complexities of agriculture anyway, because it is so many different things and, and we even think that agriculture is being quite different than food. Most people think those are totally different things. So how to think about food production, in a system that's really totally controlled and limited in terms of the resources that we can use. And as we start thinking about the access to food, the growing population, around the world, and the And really, the app needs for being able to produce food in a more sustainable with less inputs on the ground, as well as in space. So a lot of those things are drivers for us. We started the yellow bus Institute Three years ago as a nonprofit, to be able to highlight certain areas, which we weren't able to invest more funds. But we thought that they were really important to highlight from building towards a carbon neutral and sustainability point of view. And we've done our own series of challenges. We've been challenges, the military challenge dealing with waste products, on farms, turning those into valuable products. So how can we do things like that? We just concluded a challenge with the Soybean Board. How do we drive more value back to soy farmers? We're about to launch one in aquaculture. So how can we actually have more effective production of aquaculture, which is, after all, the most efficient way of producing animal protein, there is but needs a lot of information, and a lot of improvement. And then I guess the final thing I'd say with regard to something like this, in particular, is we know that we produce are really more calories than we need. But we don't have ways and actually to make sure those calories get to the places they need to be. And so a lot of it has to do with things we're talking about here. Sustainable packaging, long term. supply chains, are shortening supply chain, so we don't have to move food as far from the consumer to the farm. So all those things we find to be really interesting opportunities. And this particular challenge will, should be able to drive a lot of innovation in those spaces.
Dan Reus 06:31
That's great. Thanks, Thad. Next up is Malia Gehan. Malia is principal investigator with the Donald Danforth plant science center, if you don't if you're not familiar with them, they do, they're one of the world's preeminent institutions and really working on the science of plants, and how do we how do we grow them and in the places where we need to and get the most out of them. So Malia, your work is in, in in on the plant side, you look at abiotic stress or stress, like temperature and things like that, on on plants that people use for consumption, but you also look at phenotyping. And you also are in the hardware space in the data space, talk a little bit about your work and how it relates to this idea of you know, like a, you know, if we can imagine a closed space station or something similar to it, that would be producing food.
Malia Gehan 07:26
That would be the sole source of food for people. So a little bit about that. Sure. So my research focuses on plant growth in extreme environments. So in particular temperature environments, so high temperature, which is related to climate change, and then low temperature extremes. And we are interested in easier, more efficient ways of assessing plant stress. And so we take a lot of images of plants under those stress conditions. And in particular, we use low cost hardware, like Raspberry Pi computers are Arduinos to capture those images, and then develop software in order to extract data from from the bat. So how can we get more data with less effort. And so a lot of the research we do is in controlled environments. So we're applying, putting the plant to these closed environments, and then applying these stress conditions, which is similar to what would be done I think, in space, because you're you know, you only have, you're only being able to apply a certain number of conditions, you know, you're not going to have gravity, you're going to apply certain wavelengths of light, you're going to decide on the day length. And so it's all about optimizing plant growth. With an and predicting plant growth, um, and predicting plant growth.
Dan Reus 08:57
Yeah. Awesome. Thanks. And last, Tony. So you've got your successful opportunity for tomorrow on entrepreneur sorry, in AI and analytics and data. But you're also a big civic booster, you've got a background in AI, AG, and biotech. So talk a little bit about what you're working on and how what your interests are and the for the three other things that we've already talked about so far, or get thinking about growing an ecosystem.
Tony Sardella 09:26
Yeah, absolutely. Thanks, Dan. pleasure to be with you in there and the team today. As you mentioned, my background is in data science. I spend most of my years doing mathematical modeling of environmental and human health impact assessments. And from that developed capabilities which lead into the launch of evolve. 24, an AI machine learning company that I founded, that we applied the areas of data science into is solving a lot of different societal and industry problems, gaining insights. And as part of that we recognized now both in the region, that the power of bringing together top experts in these fields of data science, as well as other don't dimensions and domains could solve a lot of different problems in industry, of course, here looking at agriculture and food. So what I've been working on is the establishment collectively with numerous others in the community, and St. Louis as a national center for location sciences. You know, location science as a science is incredibly important in regards to agriculture and food that brought up exactly that the food has to make it to the individuals, the distribution, the place, and distribution is critically important in regards to agriculture and food. So we're bringing together as, as the National Center for location scientists are experts, academic, academic experts, industry experts, technology and data science experts to provide expertise in the solving these industry sector specific challenges tied to location sciences.
Dan Reus 11:05
Well, thanks, everybody. So that's a great introduction. So let's talk about this a little bit. So, you know, food and space and is, you know, is just a, it's the same systems, you have to produce food, you know, you have to grow it, and you have to get it to consumption. It's just much more compact area. What are the opportunities that you guys see that are kind of exciting. We've talked offline about people that are doing things with growing chambers are people that are doing things with how it's packaged, so it's stored because there's less shrinkage. And then also, NASA is terribly concerned about, you know, it can't just be the same kind of thing over and over again, for people that are going to consume that food for, you know, possibly years on end, you know, there's got to be variety. And there's got to be that social experience of food. What do you think are just let's just start, you know, if you were if you were to put on your blue sky, hat, what do you think is interesting in that space, from your perspective? Who's got Any thoughts? What, Jonathan, I think you've seen some people that are doing some interesting things. What have you seen? That's interesting? How would you riff on that?
Jonathan Volk 12:11
A couple of key projects. And actually, these are projects done by well known commercial companies in space. One of them is a is I'm sure in the food industry, freeze drying it. And that's obviously used for exploration or space exploration. A lot of that methodology has been tested us not just how does it? How does the food store microgravity, but also the why optimization process? So this company did it for pharma for a pharmaceutical product, but obviously, the science applies. So utilizing the microgravity environment, and to see how things lay off allies can you get a better and without getting too technical, but there are some benefits in terms of the I guess it's the layering that occurs, you get less stratification and that obviously degrades the food. So microgravity can help preserve a freeze dried product more effectively. So there's been some push to actually do actual freeze drying that that process done in space. And then also, we're seeing again, this is more on the, on the terrestrial standpoint, but a, a large beverage company based in St. Louis has flown several experiments to space to look at a barley germination for their barley based adult beverages. So you can probably figure out who it is, but they're utilizing the microgravity environment, see, Hey, can we grow more unique strain of barley on the ground? Or it can be can we learn what we did in space grow more optimal strain of barley on the ground that could potentially enhance our product, enhance the taste, etc. So they've done a series of experiments, that's it's really great to see a company or a researcher want to go back to space multiple times to solve a problem related to food or agriculture because they really want to keep learning. So those are probably two key examples, that we're really seeing major players in the food industry, utilize space for both ground and space based applications.
Dan Reus 14:13
That you know, you with the ilab your work, you see food that doesn't come in bushel baskets, you know, like things that are cellular or as a, as Jonathan was just talking about, you know, things that are fermented or otherwise, kind of dealt with, but you know, what is what are some other ways that people could be thinking about food and space that present real opportunities here.
Thad Simons 14:38
So I mentioned a little bit about the move towards alternative protein sources now. It's got to be quite interesting. Mostly plant based so far, but we're starting to see some things where meat has grown in fermentation. So it's an alternative way of growing meat without growing it in the animal and There are some companies working quite extensively now with fungi to produce alternative protein sources. And we're gonna see a lot more products from seaweed and algae coming along, which are high protein sources as well. So I think any of these kinds of technologies, many of which were developed, for even sound like on the algae was originally developed for biofuels purpose. But what they found was, it wasn't really too cost effective as a biofuel that was pretty effective at growing high value of protein. So I think we're gonna see a number of these kinds of technologies come come to the fore
Dan Reus 15:38
millennia from a plant, you know, from your perspective, what do you, you know, like, if you think about that, and you think about, oh, here's what I'd like to be working on. Here's what I'd like my lab to be working on. If we were solving this problem, you know, you work with several, obviously, model organisms and things. But what, you know, what do you think about how a scientist could collaborate with people at solving this problem?
Malia Gehan 16:02
Yeah, I mean, what we do is highly collaborative, especially when we're talking about plant phenotyping, plant phenotyping, and predictive modeling of plant growth, which obviously applies to plant growth in space. But we have to collaborate extensively with engineers who are developing the sensors and technology, computer scientists who are developing algorithms for extracting information from image data. statisticians, obviously, and mathematicians, for for, for these models. And it probably, Tony can talk a lot more about that. you know, there are, are networks of people that are starting to form. And so one, one is the North American plant phenotyping network, which I'll plug because it's free to join. And it's kind of a grouping of all these people with that interest in engineering and computer science, and then domain knowledge and plant science as well.
Dan Reus 17:05
Yeah, Tony, that's a Malaya thanks for setting it up, Tony to talk a little bit about from a data perspective. You know, I think the other thing is that, I think it's really easy to think about food as a product that sits on a shelf or on a plate. But you know, you mentioned your behavioral economics side of this, you know, like, like, we also have to, like, be producing food that people want to eat when they want to eat it. But you know, like, think about talk a little bit about the data modeling opportunities for and kind of the analytics perspective here. What's your muted Tony, sorry,
Tony Sardella 17:39
building on what Malia had said, in regards to the data, what most excited about are three things. The first is the significant growth and implementation of different types of sensors. You know, that type of information can provide great and exhaustive capabilities in our data modeling. And those data modeling can, you know, span from productivity efficiencies, also place where we're products might exist, and how they're moving to great gain efficiencies there. The second part is even just protecting our ecosystem. So in regards to different sensors and data, ensuring that production is done in a highly sustainable manners. And so I'm really impressed with the second trend of both the ability to use sensors to detect and also track source, even most recently, blockchain technology to share this traceability of supply, which become extremely important as we diversify into status saying plant based proteins where we're establishing entirely new, robust supply chains to serve that consumer demand for plant based protein based foods. So those are two of the key areas to data sensors, blockchain, but then also using it for societal aspects as well to understand it and model those impacts with all that new data.
Dan Reus 18:59
So Jonathan, I want to go to you, you know, like innovation sometimes involves creative use of constraints. And so when we think about growing food and space and consuming it in space, if there's a challenge, you know, we were just talking about supply chain, Tony was just talking about supply chain. Nobody, you know, no astronaut at the ISS is going to run out to Tractor Supply because some, some component fails, right? Or you need more of an input. So can you talk a little bit about, like, how we start thinking about what, you know how that this is a complimentary world, but it presents its own challenges. To do this work in space. It's not just zero G. It's got its own issues.
Jonathan Volk 19:39
Yeah, I would say if a lot of times to one. In our business, we have to, we want people to first think about the science, the benefits of space, sometimes you might get someone who's already thinking about the constraints of the of the box, they have to fit this in or things like that. So we really want Want to get people thinking just about the science? Like how would you do something in your lab on the ground. And then it's really, in in the industry, there are a lot of cert what we call service providers these are and they're they're scattered all over the country in the world that really do the they design payloads. So they work with a potential pi. I mentioned, I think I admit, but tech shot is a one of those implementation partners, they're based in Greenville, Indiana, near Louisville, so they're close to you guys. And these are the guys that are just the experts in the field, they can really helping an interested investigator design something that can fit within the confines of the ISS, or some free flyer, etc, whether and this is across all disciplines, whether you're involved with plant science, or you want to fly a sensor, look at the study of how fluid moves, there's various of these service providers that can really help. And those are key players in the space ecosystem, that can really help translate a researchers ideas without having them to really be the space experts, the service providers can be. And that helps really get good payloads up to space.
Dan Reus 21:12
But so somebody working in this area, doesn't necessarily have to be the plant expert that Malia is because there's expertise to draw on and collaboration is there. And they also don't have to be a space engineering expert, because there's collaborations available there. You don't necessarily have to be a food systems expert, because you know, that you talked about collaboration is there and there's, there's local, you know, there's places that want to help them succeed. So there's opportunities to do this, if you're, if you just have some of those areas of interest. What What do you think are some of the challenges that you that are, are going to be interesting to see people looking at in this in this area? So, you know, for each of your domains, what do you think is going to be something that's a child that's difficult right now, that will ultimately get easier? And, Tony, you know, you're kind of talking about data and collaboration and those kinds of things. But you know, maybe we could start with you What, what do you think are challenges to make an end end system like this work that people will be addressing?
Tony Sardella 22:18
Yeah, well, I think, you know, you pointed on the expertise, the accessibility of expertise, because it's not in one singular location, it's going to take, in essence, a system of system of different experts to come together. And I think the more one embraces that, by collectively bringing together different experts, one can work towards those solutions, that that will be something else unlocks the ability to address some of the challenges that we're looking at. So that's one of the things I think is my thinking in regards how to unlock those.
Dan Reus 22:49
So thinking of collaborating systems. Malia, go ahead. I'm sorry, I cut you off.
Malia Gehan 22:56
Sorry, I was gonna say, I think one thing because we're we're working a lot in a collaborative way, with a lot of different disciplines. One thing that has been very challenging is communication. So so something in one domain might be very similar to something in another domain, but they're called completely different things. And so translating between one field to another, that you often need people there as integrators, who have some some sort of cross domain knowledge between two fields. And so communication, when you're working on challenges that are so large, and require so many disciplines is is one of the biggest hurdles, I think, and building on what Malia said, you know, much, if you look at the research on innovation, we'll always say that innovation occurs at the cross section of disciplines. Right. And so Molina says it's so nicely that the essence of it is being able to bring down those barriers of different disciplines to collaborate and make those connections to create innovative solutions.
Dan Reus 24:00
Yeah, Jonathan, you know, you were talking about one of the companies you mentioned, doing bio printing, and there's some interesting things, you know, to settle, you know, bio printing is trying to create tissues for research purposes and things, but also, you know, having to hold on to organic material and deploy it, you know, in very precise ways, has some corollaries to how to store and use food. You know, what, what are some other areas that are kind of adjacent that you wouldn't think of that are of others food production in space that are actually fairly close to this, that people could kind of tap into? Do you have any, any other ideas?
Jonathan Volk 24:39
I would say, in terms of maybe not necessarily production, but one thing that that's also important is looking at shelf life, or how a product or a food or beverage or household product degrades over time, though microgravity can really isolate certain phenomena that caused phase separation. So that could be in a food product that's a liquid or dressing or a sauce or things like that. That's one thing too. And also looking at how food degrades from from a, I guess it's called mouthfeel. I'm not an expert in that area. But I know mouthfeel is a key thing. So how does looking at with a space being a highly surface dominant environment? Being able to isolate? How does a do the surface of a product degrade? How's it get impacted, whether it's through a interface with another with another liquid or what have you. So looking at mouthfeel of food, looking at product stability of food type products, that's something a little closer to tomorrow, another chemical engineering background, so that those are something a little more familiar with, from a biological standpoint, now, there's probably a little bit more, but I'll defer to the experts on the panel might be a little more knowledgeable of that field than I am.
Dan Reus 26:03
And go ahead, Tony.
Tony Sardella 26:05
Yeah, I was gonna say just building on Jonathan, I think that's one of the areas of tremendous opportunity, that the research that's done as part of the space program in agriculture, being able to bring it back because of its revealing of stress or areas of stress. You know, food, food deserts are a real societal concern, an issue in our country, the availability, and of quality food and the ability to generate and produce food locally, near these areas, to provide them in a healthy state, I think there's gonna be some tremendous research in space that allows us to optimize those type of productions locally, in specific areas. And I know, there's been a lot of research being done by fad and the yield lab in that area around producing locally. So I think that's a great driver of insight that could be used for addressing food deserts, as well.
Dan Reus 27:02
That Could you talk a little bit about that, you know, there's the idea of a circular economy with food, you know, and obviously, you know, if we have to send rockets full of fertilizer and inputs up to sustain food production, it's kind of defeating its purpose, you know, how does thinking more about regenerative or circular economies with food? How does that benefit Earth?
Thad Simons 27:26
Well, firstly, just building upon what Tony was saying, I think we are coming to understand better and better what the nutritional value of food, so food, going beyond the calories, but actually what food is actually medicine. So looking in terms of how we can better utilize food, and that I'm sure, in space is something that NASA will look at very closely. And something that we understand very much in terms of what are the kinds of foods what what are the nutritional value of the food that we want to have? And how can we adjust that because today, we can actually make quite great strides in adjusting the nutritional value. And smaller amount of food may be just as nutritionally impactful as what we had before by different breeding or gene editing tools to be able to get to that. And I think the other piece that really touches on the circular part of it more is the largest one of the largest problems we have today is with food loss and food waste. So when, when between you can choose your number, but 25 to 50% of all food produced in the world is either gone through food loss or food waste. So anything that we can think about, that will enable us to do a better job of getting the full value of the food that we're producing into the mouth of the consumer, whether that's going to be through better supply chain, closer supply chains, where there's going to be three different, more indoor growing systems that are closer, or can be growing year round. And certainly growing. seasonally, I think all of these things will enable us to grow more nutritious food with less impact on the environment.
Dan Reus 29:15
Malia, Thad was just talking about you know, kind of being able to tune the nutritional value of food and I know, I know, this isn't your area, but at the Danforth, there's significant work on tuning cassava and other single you know, places you know, crop, you know, foods that are grown is a really a monoculture to provide a more balanced nutrient load. Is that something that is ongoing research and lots of crops or is that?
Malia Gehan 29:39
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, so, you mentioned the International Institute for crop improvement at the dam for center that has no focus on on cassava where, you know, cassava is a crop that is a staple crop for many people, but how can we make that more nutritious so it could be bio fortifying that crop? So that has more nutritional value. So vitamin A content. And that's the focus for a lot of different plant science researchers. So taking crops that people are comfortable with and making it more nutritious to them. So that's something that, you know, people have done with golden rice as another example of that. put a plant outside, you have the benefits of taking advantage of the sun. But if you're in a closed system, you have to provide all of those environmental inputs, and that can be very energy inefficient. And so there's a lot of people putting a lot of effort into making those systems more efficient, which I think is a really exciting area of research.
Dan Reus 31:00
Oh, that's true, you know, so we're getting used to seeing just having year round availability of things that are not your own crops in the grocery store, to grow that in a controlled environment is involving inputs that maybe aren't sustainable in space, or maybe aren't long term sustainable here, you know, that we need to find other ways to do that, other than just pouring energy into the system? That's a good point. Jonathan, what, you know, if you, you have a background in working with the National Labs, you know, what other kinds of research is going on? You know, where are the other areas that food and space are intersecting with other things, you know, people have talked briefly about like biofuels, or, you know, like alternative fuels and things. Where are other areas where this is got the potential to make some have some impact?
Jonathan Volk 31:51
Well, biofuels is one, I would say to just is what Tony has been focusing on. I mean, big data is very key from a from a space standpoint, getting large data sets in from a agricultural standpoint of food standpoint, being able to specifically locate Work, work, crop yields, and weather patterns and seeing where the best places to be best locations for certain crops to grow. One example is of a startup company that actually developed an app and utilize the space station to get data that would an app for a farmer where they want to know, they should plot a shift, depending what crop they want to plant, they plot this location on their farm this day, etc. So big data is very important. I think, we think space from a microgravity standpoint, but also getting big data from all types of sensors to not just visible but forget, you could there's applications for food utilizing various types of the IR spectrum of different types of sensors, hyperspectral, imaging and things like that. So I think that's another key area as well. That's, that's important to foods getting those big data sets of as relates to agricultural around all points of the year.
Dan Reus 33:08
Because that's, you know, like, there can be big data as in just lots of data about a huge field that you're talking about really actionable data about individual plants in this case, you know,
Jonathan Volk 33:18
particular Yeah, for a particular specific location on the earth or focused on a specific crop in various locations around the Earth. Yeah, high, highly specialized.
Malia Gehan 33:29
There's a, there's a really interesting project. out that's funded by the Department of Energy, called tera. ref, that they basically put all of the latest and greatest sensors into this sweet this box. That's about the size of a VW bus. And it's on a gantry system that takes images of fields of sorghum, and wheat. And the idea is, is to try and understand what is the minimum amount of information or what is the maximum amount of information you can get with all of this sensor data. And all of that data eventually is supposed to be made public, so that it can be used and also well annotated, so that it can use to develop new algorithms for predictive growth. So I think building off of what Jonathan said about big data, but also annotated data is really important because when building these algorithms, you need to have groundtruth information, which can be really difficult to get.
Dan Reus 34:35
That's great. What is the name of that project again? maleah.
Malia Gehan 34:40
Tara rush, it's a part of a ARPA E. Department of Energy project
Dan Reus 34:47
after looking at, so, this has been a great conversation. We did this to kind of kick off what we're doing with space for food space for food is an effort by the yield lab Institute to support people working around these areas. To align them with resources, and all of you on the panel represent open innovation, collaborative kinds of people, there's nobody here that's about we're inventing, inventing the secret sauce in our basement. And we're going to, you know, spring it on the world. So, talk a little bit about the kinds of collaboration, we're going to be doing a couple of events over the next in April and May to help people working in this space, whether they want to apply for the dance of deep space food challenge or not, obviously, we'll have mentors that can help you with an application, because we work with a lot of people that apply for, for things like this. But what are the other kinds of ways that somebody's coming from a very specific point of view, can think about how to collaborate in this? You know, so, Melissa, if you could, you know, if you could think about somebody, you know, what could they reach out to a plant scientist for help with.
Malia Gehan 35:51
And so we're always interested in collaboration. So I don't, I don't know of a single lab that doesn't collaborate in some way. And I wanted to mention a specific program that the Stanford Center is supporting, it's a partnership with Wells Fargo. They provide innovation grants to startup companies, with interesting projects, specifically around indoor AG, which I think has specific connections to this program. And the next call is in November 2021. So I wanted to mention that because it sort of directly relates to this, this program. So even if they don't get the NASA grant, we can maybe help them prepare for that. Yeah, exactly. That How do you think people should be thinking as collaborating with all of these people, you know, why, you know, what's the benefit and collaborating kind of openly versus, you know, doing it in secret on your own?
Thad Simons 36:47
Yeah, I think, as several people mentioned, and where this real innovation happens, is when people from different many past innovations that NASA developed for space came back to Earth to be valuable products here. And I'm really looking at this as being one of those ways that we can really think about how we can bring these different kinds of people different experiences, or like I said, sometimes it's they have, they're calling things different by different names, and they're trying to get to the same point.
Dan Reus 38:52
Tony, what what's your any any closing thoughts on on how to think collaboratively and to take advantage of all of these kind of this cross pollination of these different resources?
Tony Sardella 39:07
Well, I think that the mental model is one of speed that indicated it. By collaboration, you can get answers to things from others who have experienced it or looked at it or researched it, therefore speeding up the time for impact for any type of effort that someone might be working on, as far as so that's the mental model as far as reaching out individual specific for some of the work that they might be doing. The National Center for location Sciences is collaborating closely with cortex, which is our innovation district here in the region. And so therefore offers tremendous opportunities for this type of innovative processes, entrepreneurial type processes that are underpinned by research and discovery. So that would be another major resource that could enable and support those type of collaborations.
Dan Reus 39:58
Jonathan, I just want to close with you You know, like, you see, you mentioned that you see resources kind of all over the country and all over the globe. Is this a winner takes all thing? Are there opportunities for everybody with these collaborations around space, to everybody form their own ecosystem and to have a collaborative network of ecosystems that all have their own expertise? You know, how should we be thinking about this?
Jonathan Volk 40:21
Absolutely. You know, depending on what the focus of an ecosystem is, obviously, you want to play to your strengths. But now that there are plenty of opportunities, and I think part of it too, is just really, I'll say, waking people up. I mean, there's so many different industries and markets and areas of research that space is applicable to, I could name dozens. So really getting people where Hey, I can utilize space for not just exploration purposes, but also the benefit my work down here on the ground, and realizing that it's accessible to you, whether it's through a challenge like this, or solicitation or something like that. So I think, you know, ecosystem development is great, because it pulls a lot of different assets together in a region or a city, every, every organization is can offer can bring something multiple things to an ecosystem like this, they can get multiple things out of it. So I think that's really a, it's really important that there's there's benefit, they can bring something to the table, and they can benefit from it. And, again, you're right, if it's going to be play to your strengths. But some of I guarantee you some of your strengths could benefit from space, no matter what they are, we can find the connection. And I think that's a really positive thing about developing an ecosystem in St. Louis, or anywhere.
Dan Reus 41:40
I am, thank you, everybody, we're about to wrap up here, I just want to point out that somebody who couldn't be on the call today, but there's a great presence here at the St. Louis University's parks college around space. And then people were talking here on the panel about speed and collaboration. And one of the things that they realized, we're seeing a lot happen in space with SpaceX, and a lot of other things. But one of the things has been a conscious effort to shrink the length of time of programs. And so it used to, you know, they're they're actually developing satellites and launching them during a bachelor's program now, rather than it being a 10 year project cycle. So the speed of innovation in space has dramatically increased, possibly faster than the speed of innovation here on earth. And I think we have a great opportunity there. But thank you so much, to everybody for participating in this, I just want to close with go to space for food.org to sign up for our newsletter to get invited to the events where we're going to be having subject matter experts. There'll be hearing more from the people on the panel and their colleagues and the people that they know about how to succeed in this area. But ultimately, any closing thoughts? You know, what, what if we all meet on the ISS and five years? What are we going to eat together? I think we should close with that. Well, yeah, what do you think we should eat together to share as a meal to say, Hey, we were there to see the start.
Malia Gehan 43:03
That's hard. I think they've already had salad. So I don't know. Hopefully, it's maybe quinoa because that's my favorite plant.
Dan Reus 43:12
Awesome. Tony, what do you think?
Tony Sardella 43:14
I was gonna say some some plant based protein meal, that would be what I would be looking for.
Dan Reus 43:22
I'm thinking kimchi. I want to have some kimchi up there. Jonathan, what would you like to have with us at that meal?
Jonathan Volk 43:30
Is it fried ravioli? Is that the big staple? One of the big staples dishes. I'm like, I like that. It's tasty to see even though may not be you can make it in space. I think it's really appropriate
Dan Reus 43:44
that what would you like to have?
Thad Simons 43:49
I think it's going to be something mushroom based. And there are already people out there selling efficient fish sticks and in chicken nuggets that are made from fungi. So I think it'll be something like that. And we'll also be drinking some fungi or algae milk.
Dan Reus 44:10
There we go. Thank you very much, everybody. Thanks for your time. And please follow us on space for food and let us know how we can help you succeed in this ecosystem.