Digital Food For Astronauts? – NASA Gives 3D Food For Thought

nasaNASA has funded research to build what will be the World’s first 3-D printer that can create food.  Yes, as nerdy as it sounds, NASA has funded a $125,000 grant to Texas-based Systems and Materials Research Corp. to develop this machine which can create healthy, nutritious food.

The development could not only help astronauts have plenty of food when they travel to Mars – the reason the research study is being made, but solve plenty of the World’s hunger problems too.

The project aims at make creating food possible – at the touch of a button! Creating entrees or deserts wouldn’t require any more expertise than the skill to push a button.

In what could seem an imitation straight out from the Star Trek movies, each 3D printers would have digital recipes stored in them, and they would combine powders to make real food that not only has the structure nad texture of one but also smells like one too!

The project’s details are to be finalized this week and was presented at the at the beginning of this month in the Humans 2 Mars Summit in Washington.

So how did the idea originate?  Well, Anjan Contractor, an engineer at SMRC, said at the Summit that he had used a 3D printer to print chocolate for his wife – and that made the company think what other foods could be printed too. With NASA’s grant, the space food printer is expected to be ready by the end of this year.

This will be a boost to NASA which has been struggling to find a way how to feed its astronauts for five long years when the first manned Mars mission takes place.

The chocolate experiment led the company to think about other kinds of food that could be printed. A space-food printer doesn’t actually exist yet — it’s still a concept, which the company hopes to develop by the end of the year using NASA’s grant money.