NASA Supports Pizza Printer

NASA seems to be taking sfnal approaches to feeding astronauts seriously, as they announce their award of a $125,000 grant to investigate a food printer for long space voyages.


(Printing chocolate cookies - a proof-of-concept)

Anjan Contractor’s 3D food printer might evoke visions of the “replicator” popularized in Star Trek, from which Captain Picard was constantly interrupting himself to order tea. And indeed Contractor’s company, Systems & Materials Research Corporation, just got a six month, $125,000 grant from NASA to create a prototype of his universal food synthesizer.

But Contractor, a mechanical engineer with a background in 3D printing, envisions a much more mundane—and ultimately more important—use for the technology. He sees a day when every kitchen has a 3D printer, and the earth’s 12 billion people feed themselves customized, nutritionally-appropriate meals synthesized one layer at a time, from cartridges of powder and oils they buy at the corner grocery store. Contractor’s vision would mean the end of food waste, because the powder his system will use is shelf-stable for up to 30 years, so that each cartridge, whether it contains sugars, complex carbohydrates, protein or some other basic building block, would be fully exhausted before being returned to the store...

His initial grant from NASA, under its Small Business Innovation Research program, is for a system that can print food for astronauts on very long space missions. For example, all the way to Mars.

“Long distance space travel requires 15-plus years of shelf life,” says Contractor. “The way we are working on it is, all the carbs, proteins and macro and micro nutrients are in powder form. We take moisture out, and in that form it will last maybe 30 years.”

There is something very pedestrian about watching a printer create something for you - I'm not sure if I want to watch my food being printed. Although I've certainly imagined it - see Hungry? Print Yourself Some Bacon.

Children of the Sixties of course remember the cool food synthesizer from Star Trek: TOS.


(Star Trek food synthesizer)

You might be interested in my earlier article Fictional Foodstuffs: The Snacks Of Science Fiction for some of the great science-fictional food processors.

Via QZ.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/20/2013)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 6 )

Related News Stories - (" Food ")

3D Printing Dinner
'The food slot gave him flat reddish-brown bricks.'- Larry Niven, 1970.

First Flower Grown In Space Is Edible
Yeoman Rand, admire the flowers, please.

Nima Portable Gluten Tester
'... the unobtrusive inspections with tiny remote-cast snoopers...'- Frank Herbert, 1965.

Can Bacteria Provide Food In Space?
At least the scop was improving... - Bruce Sterling, 1988.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Brick By Brick, Building Martian Bases
Don't try to boost everything from the surface of the Earth.

SpotMini Robot Pierson's Puppeteer-Style
Now they're kind of cute, right?

Elon Musk et. al. OpenAI Household Robot
'Any work a human being does around a house.'

BRUISE Smart Injury Detection Suit
'... Bee could see that three of them were disabled and two of them damaged.'

Tesla Model S Is Also A Boat (Sort Of)
'This Dick Dare contraption of yours...'

Promobot, The Runaway Russian Robot!
'Got yourself a runaway, Jack?'

Rowbot Small Autonomous Farm Robot
'...The tiny red glints of self-guided tractors.'

Amazon's Alexa To Recognize Emotions
Oh, Hal understood their emotions, all right.

Cool 'Single-Person Spaceships' Have Better SF Name
'A cabin so small, you couldn't stand up with the air lock closed..'

First Robot Suicide Has Science Fiction Roots
'What had happened to prevent my death?'

First US Clinical Trial For Wearable Artificial Kidney
'Wholly mechanical organs...'

Open Bionics To Produce Deus Ex Prosthetic Designs
Be a part of a science fictional future.

Human-Carrying Drone Taxi 184 Approved For Test Flights
'The cab was an egg-shaped bubble...'

Skating On Mars' Frozen Pools
'They went down, put on their skates, and started.'

Google Working On A 'Cutoff Switch' For AI
'A remote control, so you can pull the plug on Hal whenever you want to.'

Vi Artificially Intelligent Personal Trainer
Wakey wakey!

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.