Interstellar Lab is among the winners in NASA's Deep Space Food Challenge Phase 2 with our food production system NUCLEUS

05.05.23 By Interstellar Lab

Interstellar Lab won phase II of NASA's Deep Space Food Challenge

In may 2023, NASA selected our food production system called NUCLEUS for Phase III of the Deep Space Food Challenge.

What is NUCLEUS?

NUCLEUS is a modular bio-regenerative system that produces fresh microgreens, vegetables,mushrooms, and insects, providing a nutritious diet for long-term space missions. The system is a closed loop, pathogen-free and balanced, with 90% of the control automated and easy to clean, replace or repair.

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How does it work?

The system consists of 9 modules, called Quarks, 6 of which are growth Quarks for food production and 3 are system Quarks to house the functional components. The units are plugged into a centralized distribution network that provides electricity, irrigation, and climate control.

All Quarks work independently and, combined together, they create a closed-loop, pathogen-free and balanced system for efficient food production. In short, NUCLEUS creates a self-sustaining resilient food production system that optimizes for nutrient content and yields.


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The growth Quarks can be adapted for different configurations, including sprouts, vegetables, insects, and mushrooms. NUCLEUS creates a self-sustaining resilient food production system that optimizes nutrient content and yields. The system recycles CO2 produced in the insect and mushroom Quarks to boost photosynthesis in the plant growth Quarks.

The life cycles of the components are programmed into the software, which will remind the crew to replace or clean components such as filters. With 90% of the control automated, the only daily task of the crew is to visually inspect the growth of their food, with a weekly harvest and maintenance. The system is designed to be easily accessible and its components have soft edges for safer cleaning and to avoid injuries.


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