Photokina 2014 highlights

3D-printed pizza – a quick and easy meal for astronauts?

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February 1, 2014

A 3D-printed pizza that astronauts might one day be able to dig into (Photo: Anjan Contrac...

A 3D-printed pizza that astronauts might one day be able to dig into (Photo: Anjan Contractor)

Snacking on a freshly-made pizza in outer space just got a whole lot closer thanks to Anjan Contractor's 3D pizza printer. Contractor, who won NASA's US$125,000 grant last year to create a 3D printer that could print food for astronauts on missions, has come out with a functional prototype.

The prototype prints the blocky pizza out in layers, as demonstrated in the video at the bottom of the page. While it's a tad messy, the end product, when cooked, looks fairly appetizing. Contractor plans to equip the 3D printer with food cartridges that last for 30 years.

Such a long shelf life is pretty much a necessity, since long-distance space missions could take several years. To make the pizza ingredients last, Contractor is investigating ways to remove all the moisture from them and reduce the proteins, carbs and nutrients into a powder form.

Contractor says that it only took 70 seconds to cook the pizza once it was printed out, in a comment on his Youtube page. If NASA implements the technology, astronauts will be able to get 3D-printed fast food in space, which should be a comfort, instead of having to rely solely on freeze-dried and canned foods.

Via: Fastcoexist, Quartz, The Verge

About the Author
Lakshmi Sandhana When Lakshmi first encountered pig's wings in a petri dish, she realized that writing about scientists and imagineers was the perfect way to live in an expanding mind bubble. Articles for Wired, BBC Online, New Scientist, The Economist and Fast Company soon followed. She's currently pursuing her dream of traveling from country to country to not only ferret out cool stories but also indulge outrageously in local street foods. When not working, you'll find her either buried nose deep in a fantasy novel or trying her hand at improvisational comedy.   All articles by Lakshmi Sandhana
7 Comments

What, people can't mix dough in space? :)

Nairda
2nd February, 2014 @ 10:51 pm PST

Certainly impossible to mix flour with your hands in zero gravity, it would float everywhere and cause all kinds of problems, this machine mixes and bakes in a sealed chamber, so the only exposed item is the final pizza which is much less dangerous to have bounching around:)

Aurin Ræder
3rd February, 2014 @ 02:59 am PST

Has April 1 come early this year? This machine looks like it had been made by a high school student. The company got $125,000 for this creation! It looks apparent that the contents are deposited on that flat surface with the help of gravity.

Would it not be easier to have pre-made pizzas, stored in plastic wrappers? The extra weight of the printing machine is then not required. Also, I can't see why the pizza is square, and not round. It looks like the programming was easier to produce a square. The whole thing looks incredibly amateurish and to my mind, pointless. Mind you, the company has done very well with that enormous grant. Someone is a good salesman.

windykites1
3rd February, 2014 @ 07:07 am PST

ew

how is this different from steak-in-a-tube?

the quintessential awful astronaut food...

the ''ink'' lasts for 30 YEARS?>>>?????

who would eat that?

wle

Larry English
3rd February, 2014 @ 08:27 am PST

Wahoo.

First a 3D Chocolate printer. Now a 3D Pizza printer. What's next?

tflahive
3rd February, 2014 @ 08:28 am PST

no one has even spoken about flavor!

Deborah Wright
3rd February, 2014 @ 09:00 am PST

Tough audience....

I found it impressive.

Darwin Liquors
3rd February, 2014 @ 10:36 am PST
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