Feeds

Tea, Earl Grey, hot! NASA blows $125k on Star Trek 3D FOOD PRINTER

We all know it'll really be 'Press Control-P for pizza'

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

A small company in Austin, Texas, has received a $US125,000 grant from NASA to develop 3D printed food for astronauts.

The challenges are multifold – not least among them producing something palatable out of a printer – but the idea is that with enough development, NASA might be able to come up with something that beats the current rations sent to places like the International Space Station.

Systems & Materials Research Coroporation in Austin Texas has already beaten an easy problem – printing chocolate on a biscuit – but its plan under the NASA grant is more ambitious: a fully-fledged nosh synthesiser, perhaps like the food'n'drink replicators used by Star Trek's Captain Picard and his crew.

The prototype will use a combination of 3D printing and inkjet printing. The inkjet will handle “micronutrients, flavour and smell” while 3D printing will be used for macronutrients (the starch that forms the base of the pizza, along with protein and fat).

Why bother? – because if it worked and didn't send astronauts out of the airlock rather than eat the printed pizza, a working setup would mean that a handful of generic ingredients could be carried on manned spacecraft, rather than completed meals.

SMRC is working with the food science program at North Carolina State University and International Flavors and Fragrances on the project. The proposal's abstract is here. ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Beancounters tell NASA it's too poor to fly planned mega-rocket
Space Launch System would need another $400m and a lot of time
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.