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Nasa astronauts’ food to get a taste-lift on top of added nutrition

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In an attempt to meet the nutritional needs of astronauts in space, a New York-based company Air Company of Brooklyn founded a way to recycle astronauts-exhaled carbon dioxide in space to grow yeast-based nutrients for protein shakes designed to nourish crews on long-duration deep-space missions, reported Reuters.

The innovation of the company — which makes carbon-negative aviation fuel and is patented as AIRMADE technology — in food growth has put it in the finals of a Nasa-sponsored contest that encourages the development of next-generation technologies for meeting the food requirements of space crews.

According to the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Stafford Sheehan that “it’s definitely more nutritious than Tang,” while referring to a powdered drink that gained traction in 1962 by John Glenn when he became the first American to orbit Earth.

Kennedy Space Centers iconic Vehicle Assembly Building can be seen in this illustration. — Nasa/File
Kennedy Space Center’s iconic Vehicle Assembly Building can be seen in this illustration. — Nasa/File

The contest Deep Space Food Challenge prompted Sheehan to modify his invention as a way of producing edible proteins, carbohydrates and fats from the same system.

Sheehan said he originally developed his carbon-conversion technology as a means of producing high-purity alcohols for jet fuel, perfume and vodka.

Taste and flavour of food

Sheehan, who has a doctorate in physical chemistry from Yale University, said: “The resulting single-cell protein drink entered in Nasa’s contest has the consistency of a whey protein shake.”

He compared the food flavour with seitan, a tofu-like food made from wheat gluten that has its origins in East Asian cuisine and was adopted by vegetarians as a meat substitute.

“And you get that sweet-tasting, almost malted flavour to it,” Sheehan said.

Sheehan said: “Apart from protein drinks, the same process can be used to create more carbohydrate-heavy substitutes for bread, pasta and tortillas.”

For the sake of culinary variety, he sees his smoothie being supplemented on missions by other sustainably produced comestibles.

The company was one of the eight winners which Nasa announced this month in the second phase of the competition with prize money of $750,000.

A final round of the Nasa competition is yet to take place.

Ralph Fritsche, space crop production manager at Nasa’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, said that human waste alone “is not the complete nutrient source that plants need to grow and thrive.”

It is a grave challenge for Nasa to keep the astronauts well-nourished in space. Since the International Space Station (ISS) launch, the crew aboard relies on a diet mostly of packaged with some fresh produce delivered on regular re-supply missions.

According to Nasa, ISS teams also have experimented with growing a number of vegetables in orbit, including lettuce, cabbage, kale and chile peppers.

As Nasa planned for space exploratory missions to Mars and Beyond, it has become important for self-contained, low-waste food production which requires minimal resources.

Advances in space-based food production also have direct applications for feeding Earth’s ever-growing population in an era when climate change is making food more scarce and harder to produce, Fritsche said.

“Controlled environment agriculture, the first modules we deploy on the moon, will have some similarity to the vertical farms that we’ll have here on Earth,” Fritsche said.

“We’re not re-inventing products,” Sheehan said, “we’re just making them in a more sustainable way.”

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TikTok plans to introduce an image search capability in order to directly compete with Google.

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TikTok, a Chinese short video platform, is now conducting a trial of a novel functionality that enables users to capture or submit images in order to discover comparable products within the TikTok Shop, as reported by TechCrunch.

TikTok, the current leader in social media, is now aiming to enter Google’s domain in the field of search, indicating a direct competition against Google’s control in visual search.

The functionality, originally observed by user Jonah Manzano, is presently accessible to users residing in the United States and Southeast Asia. Users that have access to the feature will see a camera symbol that is integrated.
This feature allows users to effortlessly search for products by capturing or uploading photographs, eliminating the requirement for written descriptions.

For example, if you are eating at a restaurant and like the dish that is presented on a certain plate, you can take a fast photo using the TikTok app to discover comparable goods that you can buy.

Similarly, if you come across an expensive item while shopping online, you can save its image and use TikTok’s image search feature to locate similar, more affordable options.

Although TikTok Shop has previously utilized conventional search methods, this new advancement represents a notable deviation by harnessing the capabilities of visual search, similar to Google Lens.

TikTok’s decision is a calculated maneuver aimed at not only attracting users’ interest in finding new products but also promoting sales within its e-commerce network.

This development is not only a criticism of Google or Amazon; it is a more extensive effort to rival other participants in the field of visual search and e-commerce, such as Klarna and rising businesses like Cherry.

TikTok’s shift towards e-commerce is apparent in its recent announcement that TikTok Shop accommodates more than 15 million vendors worldwide, including a significant presence in the United States.

The company has made significant investments in platform safety, dedicating more than $400 million and establishing a staff of 7,500 personnel to guarantee the integrity of TikTok Shop.

TikTok continues to pursue its e-commerce goals, while encountering regulatory obstacles, especially in the United States.

TikTok’s momentum remains unaffected by President Biden’s recent measure, which indicates a possible prohibition if ByteDance does not divest the platform.

However, the corporation regards e-commerce as a strategic source of income and a method to maintain consumer involvement within its ecosystem.

TikTok is continuously expanding and improving its TikTok Shop to encourage more user interaction and spending. This will help establish TikTok as a strong competitor in the e-commerce industry.
in the search bar of TikTok Shop.

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Pakistan experiences substantial expansion in the information technology sector.

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Pakistan experienced significant development in the exports of its IT sector, reaching a total of $2.283 billion, as stated in a recent Economic Survey Report.

The increase in exports emphasized the rising global demand for IT services from Pakistan and the sector’s impact on the national economy.

The survey demonstrated that IT freelancers contributed $35 million in remittances, highlighting their significance in the IT industry.

The study data indicates a significant rise in the number of broadband and telecom customers nationwide, with broadband users reaching 135 million and telecom users growing to 194 million.

Earlier this week, the federal government has suggested a substantial 357 percent rise in the budget for the IT sector for the fiscal year 2024-25.

As to reliable sources, the Ministry of IT has been granted a budget of Rs 27.43 billion in the development budget, out of which Rs 6.28 billion has been allotted for the implementation of 15 new projects.

The government has additionally suggested allotting Rs 21.15 billion for projects that are currently in progress, as well as Rs 3.5 billion for the Digital Economy initiative.

Additional noteworthy allocations consist of Rs 1 billion for fostering innovation in the IT sector, Rs 50 million for the digitalization of the national assembly, and Rs 300 million for the implementation of smart office projects in government ministries.

The government has additionally suggested investing Rs 9.92 billion for the Islamabad Technology Development Park and Rs 6.78 billion for the creation of an IT park in Karachi. The budget additionally comprises a proposition for an allocation of Rs 1 billion for the Cybersecurity Fund for the Digital Pakistan initiative.

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The government will set up a firewall to monitor social media.

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In order to regulate “unwanted messages” on social media, the Pakistani government has chosen to establish a firewall.

It’s been discovered that the internet service providers have accepted the government’s request to put in a firewall.

“Deep packet inspection” is a unique characteristic that it will have.

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