NASA has given a $125,000 grant to a company that aims to develop a 3D printable pizza to be eaten on Mars, reports Quartz.
“Long distance space travel requires 15-plus years of shelf life,” says Anjan Contractor of Systems & Materials Research Corp. “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.”
While still in its conceptual stage, it was impressive enough to warrant funding from NASA.
3D printers are all the buzz lately, and Contractor says he sees a day when they’re in every kitchen—perhaps they’ll even replace the ubiquitous microwave. Shelf-stable powders and oils will be loaded into the printer to produce the desired food. According to Quartz, “Contractor’s vision would mean the end of food waste, because the powder his system will use is shelf-stable for up to 30 years, so that each cartridge, whether it contains sugars, complex carbohydrates, protein or some other basic building block, would be fully exhausted before being returned to the store.
And while Pizza Hut has no immediate plans to open up shop on Mars, pizzas, says Contractor will be an easy and obvious choice because they can be printed one layer at a time. “It works by first “printing” a layer of dough, which is baked at the same time it’s printed, by a heated plate at the bottom of the printer. Then it lays down a tomato base, “which is also stored in a powdered form, and then mixed with water and oil,” according to Contractor. Then, the pizza is topped with a “protein layer,” which could be animal or plant-based.
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