To make space meals more appetising, scientists have been looking at ways of producing fresh food for astronauts in flight. In 2001, German researchers designed an artificial ecosystem to provide a continuous supply of fresh fish in a spacecraft. But breeding live animals for food has drawbacks – they produce excrement, and killing them generates a lot of waste too. So NASA is paying for Benjaminson to go one step further and grow just the animals’ edible muscle. The idea has received a cautious welcome. “Fish mass grown in a nutrient broth sounds as unappealing as some of the other food astronauts take up with them, but these things have got to be explored,” says Colin Pillinger, head of the Planetary Space Sciences Research Institute at the Open University in Milton Keynes.