NASA to Print Pizzas; Free Delivery Unlikely

(Photo: Neven Mrgan)

In our podcast “Waiter, There’s a Physicist in My Soup!,” we talked to  Pablos Holman at Intellectual Ventures about food printers (we’ve also blogged about organ printers and meat printers). Now NASA is funding an Austin, Tex., company that is working on a pizza printer. From CNET:

Systems and Materials Research recently received a $125,000 grant from NASA to make a pizza. OK, it’s a little more complicated than that. Contractor already created a proof-of-concept printer that can print chocolate onto a cookie. His next goal is to print out dough and cook it while printing out sauce and toppings.

Contractor isn’t just planning to use cartridges full of red sauce, but rather the building blocks of food products. Cartridges full of powders and oils could be combined to make different foods. These cartridges would have extremely long shelf lives, making them appropriate for feeding astronauts during long-distance space travel.

“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,” Contractor told news site Quartz in an article posted Tuesday.

(HT: Jeff Mosenkis)


James

"Cartridges full of powders and oils could be combined to make different foods."

So exactly how is this different from me taking a bunch of powders - flour, sugar, salt, baking soda or yeast - adding some vegetable oil, and placing the result in an oven?

As for printing chocolate on to a cookie... Well, why? When spreading it with a knife does the job at a fraction of the cost, with zero chance of failure of some high-tech part. And gives your bored astronauts something to do on that long voyage.

Kiaser Zohsay

I'll be impressed when they get the voice activation working.

"Tea. Earl Grey. Hot"

Steve Nations

That never made any sense to me. This Star Trek computer is super smart, right? So why say everything backwards, Yoda-like? Just say it like you normally would. "Hot Earl Grey tea." The computer can understand that.

Skip

Just trying to print some dinner and get "PC LOAD LETTER" message...

El Conquistador

I am pretty sure Little Caesars has been printing pizzas already...