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