Green Room

Coming soon: The 3-D pizza printer

posted at 6:20 pm on May 22, 2013 by

Star Trek’s food replicators had to start somewhere, no? NASA wants to develop a 3-D printer for pizza, which will require powdered food substances for raw materials. They won’t have an issue with expiration dates, either, but you have to wonder how good a pizza might taste when created with 30-year-old powders:

NASA has doled out a research grant to develop a prototype 3D printer for food, so astronauts may one day enjoy 3D-printed pizza on Mars.

Anjan Contractor, a senior mechanical engineer at Systems and Materials Research Corporation (SMRC), based in Austin, Texas, received a $125,000 grant from the space agency to build a prototype of his food synthesizer, as was first reported by Quartz.

NASA hopes the technology may one day be used to feed astronauts on longer space missions, such as the roughly 520 days required for a manned flight to Mars. Manned missions to destinations deeper in the solar system would require food that can last an even longer amount of time.

I wonder how well it will work on Romulan ale …

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Does it cook the food as it deposits it?
Seems like you could do the same thing with a noodle extruder, without the complication of 3D printing.

Count to 10 on May 22, 2013 at 6:28 PM

These will not taste good for some time. The whole idea makes me wince.

dogsoldier on May 22, 2013 at 6:54 PM

This is an interesting thing to be working on, considering that we presently have no way to even get into Earth orbit without hitching a ride with the Russians, and no current plans to do much of anything regarding space exploration…

Shump on May 22, 2013 at 7:20 PM

Nobody ever ate replicated pizza on the Enterprise. I don’t know if that means the 22nd Century is going to be run by Michael Bloomberg’s Food Nazis, or if replicated pizza just can’t match the real thing, and none of the crew wants it in the commissary.

jon1979 on May 22, 2013 at 7:21 PM

This is an interesting thing to be working on, considering that we presently have no way to even get into Earth orbit without hitching a ride with the Russians, and no current plans to do much of anything regarding space exploration…

Shump on May 22, 2013 at 7:20 PM

Never mind the whole space thing. It will show up in the kitchens of designer chefs before it makes it into space.

Count to 10 on May 22, 2013 at 7:25 PM

This is an interesting thing to be working on, considering that we presently have no way to even get into Earth orbit without hitching a ride with the Russians, and no current plans to do much of anything regarding space exploration…

Shump on May 22, 2013 at 7:20 PM

One and done. Not much to add except the sequester hit pretty hard didn’t it? – and I love space exploration, I just don’t love bloated bureaucracies.

WitchDoctor on May 22, 2013 at 7:41 PM

This is an interesting thing to be working on, considering that we presently have no way to even get into Earth orbit without hitching a ride with the Russians, and no current plans to do much of anything regarding space exploration…

Shump on May 22, 2013 at 7:20 PM

One and done. Not much to add except the sequester hit pretty hard didn’t it? – and I love space exploration, I just don’t love bloated bureaucracies.

WitchDoctor on May 22, 2013 at 7:41 PM

Private US companies have already put payload in orbit — I think they could send people, but they haven’t been cleared for it yet.

Count to 10 on May 22, 2013 at 8:51 PM

Dammit, pepperoni jam!

squint on May 22, 2013 at 9:36 PM

This is an interesting thing to be working on, considering that we presently have no way to even get into Earth orbit without hitching a ride with the Russians, and no current plans to do much of anything regarding space exploration…

Shump on May 22, 2013 at 7:20 PM

I wasn’t going to be the one to say it since I’ve said it several times here already…but yeah. We threw away so much for Iphones and pizza printers.

Private US companies have already put payload in orbit — I think they could send people, but they haven’t been cleared for it yet.

Count to 10 on May 22, 2013 at 8:51 PM

The problem is that private US companies, by definition, have to make a profit from what they’re doing. This is not going to get easier under Ozero and was a very tall order in the first place considering what it costs to get anything into space. (a frigging lot!)

We are at the initial stages of exploration where there’s very little actual money to be made – unless you count satellites that do nothing but send or resend signals right back to Earth. And they don’t explore or provide any real leg up to doing so. At the present pace we will be lucky to see the equivalent of the Mayflower going to the moon when we’re toothless old fogies in nursing homes.

Serious space exploration or colonization is, and I say this reluctantly because it really does hurt me to say it, little more than science semi-fiction at this point.

MelonCollie on May 22, 2013 at 10:34 PM

Has NASA ever heard of a deep freezer?

Slowburn on May 22, 2013 at 11:31 PM

Why don’t they try to invent something similar to the “Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator”? It’s gotta be than a 3d printer.

tommer74 on May 22, 2013 at 11:49 PM

Nobody ever ate replicated pizza on the Enterprise. I don’t know if that means the 22nd Century is going to be run by Michael Bloomberg’s Food Nazis, or if replicated pizza just can’t match the real thing, and none of the crew wants it in the commissary.

jon1979 on May 22, 2013 at 7:21 PM

They only drank coffee and alcohol…no food in the future!!

airmonkey on May 23, 2013 at 12:22 AM

They only drank coffee and alcohol…no food in the future!!

airmonkey on May 23, 2013 at 12:22 AM

Nurse Chapel gave some space orphans ice cream once. And Captain Kirk was going to have a chicken sandwich with his coffee, but the tribbles got into the system.

malclave on May 23, 2013 at 12:36 AM

The idea of a 3-D printer making food is intriguing. But tell me, can it core a apple?

KGB on May 23, 2013 at 7:52 AM

But what will it look like? Not a real pizza that is for sure. A crust with all the flavors in a paste on top is what I would expect.

Dr. Frank Enstine on May 23, 2013 at 8:53 AM

The idea of a 3-D printer making food is intriguing. But tell me, can it core a apple?

KGB on May 23, 2013 at 7:52 AM

With a cutting laser, sure. Just ‘draw’ a circle around the center and a few lines through the whole thing. Presto, one cored and sliced apple, neat as you please.

MelonCollie on May 23, 2013 at 11:57 AM

Maybe they can program it to print some Tang….Progress

NOMOBO on May 23, 2013 at 1:09 PM