When the first astronauts went to space, they probably weren’t thinking about eating pizza – from space. But with 3D printing technology, eating pizza in space might one day be a real possibility.
Anjan Contractor won NASA’s $125,000 grant last year to make a 3D printer that could actually print food for astronauts. The results have been fun to watch, as well as incredible and somewhat delicious. While not complete, the 3D printer is able to print a square-shaped pizza which, after it’s cooked, looks like something one might actually eat. While on the messy side – what pizza isn’t?
Contractor adds that he plans to equip the 3D printer with food cartridges that could last up to 30 years. This is an important part of making food equipped for space, since many missions can last for a few years. As far as making said ingredients, Contractor is still working out the details. He needs to find a way to remove the moisture and reduce the ingredients to proteins, carbs, and nutrients, equipping them for a long shelf life.
He also adds that the pizza only took 70 seconds to cook, once it was printed. If NASA continues with this project, who knows what else astronauts will be able to eat from space. Instead of the usual fare of freeze-dried and canned foods, astronauts may be able to add “printed” food to their menu. After all, when it comes to 3D printing, the sky’s the limit.