Time for V in my Sci-Fi themed A-to-Z Challenge!
Vat-grown meat – from fiction to fact
Sci-fi authors wrote about meat grown without the need for raising animals for decades before stem cell research was commonplace. In 1962, H. Beam Piper wrote about “carniculture vats” in his novel The Space Viking. In his story, spacecraft had vats to grow meat to supplement hydroponically grown vegetables. In the 1969 novel Whipping Star, Frank Herbert wrote about pseudoflesh – meat grown without animals.
Many other sci-fi novels feature variations on the same idea – many people have realized the need to grow meat within a limited amount of space, such as the confines of a spaceship. Bringing animals into space, raising them, and then butchering them and processing the meat in space or on a newly-founded colony would be impractical, to say the least. Vat-grown meat provides a way around all that mess, and makes an excellent explanation for how spacefarers can maintain a healthy diet.
It’s also very real
It’s still expensive, but vat-grown meat (or in vitro meat) has been produced. In 2013, the first lab-grown burger was produced. It didn’t taste very good, apparently, but the work is very promising. Lab-grown meat has the potential to reduce greenhouse emissions and address other problems with farming animals, and you can bet that space travel organizations are watching the latest developments carefully in hopes of supplying new and better food during long space missions.
If a lab grown burger tasted just like the real thing, would you eat it?
More about vat-grown meat: