NASA is currently sponsoring Anjan Contractor, a senior mechanical engineer at Systems and Materials Research Corporation (SMRC), with a grant through the Small Business Innovation program to create a 3D food printer that can create real, edible food from powder. The goal is to be able to create food that can be eaten in space with a long shelf life. The creators are trying to synthesize all the ingredients that are in normal food, like proteins, carbohydrates, and various other nutrients, into a powder form. Without the moisture, the food can last 30 years.
The researchers also say that the powders can come from some unlikely sources, such as algae, grass, and insects. The first product for the 3D food printer is pizza because the layers in the food make it easier to “print.” First the printer will bake the dough, then the other layers (with oil and water added to the powder) will be added one at a time to create a printable pizza. Also, each food will have its own unique software to allow the user to customize their printer and bake a variety of foods.
Although the creation was originally intended to provide astronauts tastier food that will last longer in space, the invention could also help end world hunger by making longer-lasting food that can be packed and shipped easily around the world to places that need it the most.
– Katie Brockman
Source Los Angeles Times