So you thought Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was absurd, eh? Thought the Replicator from the Star Trek universe would always be nothing more than science fiction? Never underestimate what the future might hold.
3D printing has been around for a while, but only recently has it really started taking off, with everything from parts and tools to jewelry and clothing and guns currently being magically manufactured with the push of a button. There’s even work being done on printing fully functional homes and structures for the moon.
One of the things in the middle of much research and development is the 3D printing of actual edible food items. Food printing has been going on for a couple years already using materials like chocolate and cookie dough and masa, but NASA thinks it could get far, far more complex than that. They’ve given $125,000 to engineer Anjan Contractor to work on building a 3D printer that could provide tasty treats such as pizza to astronauts.
The idea is to use replaceable powder cartridges filled with the basic building blocks of foodstuffs that, when ready, combine these building blocks to create various edibles. The first big project for Contractor will be to create a printed pizza; first the dough will be printed, cooking as it goes, then a tomato powder will mix with water and oil to create the sauce before a protein layer is added. What protein that will be is not yet known.
These powder cartridges can last 30 years, which would make them perfect for lengthy future missions to space. But Contractor isn’t thinking only of printed food for astronauts on the moon and beyond. He also has hopes that this could eventually be a solution for the hunger issues that affect many around the globe.
Now…about the taste.
[Source: Quartz via The Verge]