ISS Miso


The unique space environment makes it possible to ask new scientific questions, and demands new technologies to sustain life in it. Food, as a physiological necessity, a medium of diverse cultural expression, and a bridge between disciplines, offers opportunities to bring together these fundamental and applied questions on and off Earth. In this study we explore whether food fermentation in space is possible, and if so, how it compares with earthbound fermentation. We produced a miso, a traditional Japanese condiment, on the International Space Station over 30 days, and compared it with two earthbound controls to investigate the microbial communities’ composition and safety, and flavor chemistry.

Environmental sensing box that housed a miso sample in the International Space Station.

Koji, a key ingredient in miso, is cooked rice and that has been inoculated with a fermentation culture, Aspergillus oryzae.

Aspergillus oryzae

Miso sample made by Joshua Evans at Empirical Spirits in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Miso being packaged for the International Space Station at the Masschusettes Institute of Technology


Joshua Evans
Industrial design and fabrication: Peter Dilworth
System and electronics: Jamie Milliken, Patrick Chwalek
Food science: Karoline Koth, Tiffany Shang Heng Mak, and Nabila Rodriquez

Supported by: MIT Space Exploration Initiative

Special thanks:
Sustainable Food Innovation, Danish Technical University
Harvard University
MIT Media Lab