LOCAL school children could soon be designing a meal which will be literally out of this world.

The UK Space Agency, based in Swindon, has just launched a competition asking youngsters to come up with ideas for food which could be eaten by astronauts.

The best idea will then be developed by celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal and eaten by British spaceman Tim Peake, who is set to go to the International Space Station next year.

As well as designing the meal to be taken into space, the winner will also get the opportunity to talk with Tim while he is on board the station via satellite.

Tim said: “This is a great opportunity to get people thinking about nutrition and healthy eating. I’m really excited that I’ll be able to eat a ‘Great British Space Dinner’ onboard the space station and for me it will be a very special link back to planet Earth.

“I think that by blending the creativity from the competition and Heston’s expertise we can produce something that is not just fun, healthy and tasty but also food that will be really important for the future of space travel.”

The aim of the competition is to not only educate and inform youngsters about space travel, but also teach them about healthy eating.

When designing the meal, a number of challenges need to be overcome, ranging from getting the food to last in space as well as cooking it. However, Heston said he is looking forward to trying to overcome these difficulties.

He said: “I’m unbelievably excited to be designing a delicious meal for Tim to enjoy in space. There are some real challenges ahead, things aren’t quite the same up there. I’m really looking forward to seeing some incredible suggestions by the kids, and getting started on creating something that Tim will love up there in space.”

The competition is open to all schools as well as other youth organisations such as the Scouts. There are two categories, one for primary level and one for secondary level.

A team of judges, which will include Tim , Heston and experts from the British Nutritional Foundation, will select the best entries from both categories.

They will be looking for fun and healthy menus that excite Tim, have an element of Britishness, and have the potential to be transformed into a space dinner that could be flown to the ISS.

Entry forms can be downloaded from www.gov.uk/government/ news/the-great-british-space-dinner.