Farming in space as student challenge

The ReThink Food Challenge will start in November.
Ecologist and exobiologist Wieger Wamelink (left) with remote sensing specialist Lammert Kooistra at one of his Mars greenhouses, where he researches how we could grow vegetables on the moon and on Mars. Photo Eric Scholten

The participants will have to come up with innovations in food production drawing on research into farming on Mars.

The challenge is inspired by ecologist Wieger Wamelink’s research project ‘Food for Mars and the Moon’, says Marta Eggers of WUR’s Student Challenges team. ‘The participating teams will be able to choose between three topics within space farming: indoor farming, bioprocessing and alternative sources of protein.’ These topics are reminiscent of previous WUR challenges, such as the Urban Greenhouse Challenge, the ReThink Waste Challenge and the ReThink Protein Challenge. ‘There is something of all these challenges in the new edition, but we are framing it with our focus on farming in space,’ explains Eggers. As in previous Wageningen student challenges, students from anywhere in the world can take part.

More challenges

At present, over 700 students from 147 universities around the world are taking part in WUR’s Nature Based Future Challenge. In this challenge, they have to design a nature-inclusive plan for a delta area in Bangladesh in the year 2100. This challenge will run until June this year.

For students with less time available, WUR is also organizing two hackathons — much shorter student challenges. For example, in March students will be able to work on a case study about waste processing in Rotterdam municipality.

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