Imagine seeing a beautiful photo of a pizza that looked so delicious, you wished you could just reach out and grab it. Not at all unlike this very photo here:
Now imagine if you could hit the “print” button on your computer, and have real pizza straight from your printer.
This is not Star Trek. This is not sci-fi. This is reality. Okay, almost reality. NASA recently awarded a grant of $125,000 to Anjan Contactor, a systems engineer at Systems and Materials Research Corporation in Austin, TX to build a prototype for a food synthesizer or “food printer.” The idea is that the printer will provide food for astronauts traveling long distances. Contractor has already successfully printed chocolate. His next step, pizza.
How it works:
Carbs, macro, and micro nutrients are turned into powder and loaded into cartridges, similar (at least in concept) to loading ink cartridges into a standard printer. With the moisture sucked out, the shelf-life of the ingredients can be extended to up to 30 years. The astronauts are then able to mix together the different food cartridges, like ingredients, to create a wide array of meals.
So for example, to print a pizza: Contractor’s system would “print” a sheet of dough, then tomato sauce, (powdered tomato mixed with oil and water). The pizza would then be finished with a layer of protein (from animals, milk or plants). Not exactly gourmet pizza, but pizza nonetheless.
In addition to satisfying the munchies of astronauts on long term voyages, Contractor also has hopes of more earthly applications for his food synthesizer. The engineer hopes that his invention can be used to help end world hunger. The “pizza printer” is not yet a reality, but these first steps show great promise.
Want to get your hands on the real deal? Stop by Popup Pizza for some out of this world Fremont Street pizza.