Have you ever seen a food ad on TV so compelling that you began craving that particular dish or snack? With the help of 3D printer innovations, that dream may one day be a reality.
But for now, astronauts may be the only ones eating replicated food.
As reported by Quartz, NASA announced its intention to fund Anjan Contractor’s 3D food printer project with a $125,000 grant.
The goal of the project is to synthesize food using powdered ingredients that can last up to 30 years in storage. While this may sound less than mouthwatering, it will allow food to be stored for long periods of time without spoiling.
The machine works the way any other 3D printer functions, but instead of sending a design to the 3D printer, you send a recipe with precise ingredients and measurements.
Contractor won NASA’s grant by synthesizing squares of chocolate with its 3D printer, which can be seen in a video it posted.
What’s next for Contractor?
Pizza. While this might seem like a simple task, it requires many stages of preparation, mixing and baking.
The printer will create the pizza in layers, beginning by forming a slab of dough. After the dough cooks, the printer will smear a tomato concoction across the baked surface. From this point, the printer will add many other ingredients.
Sadly, if you like real cheese, you’re out of luck.
According to an article by Extremetech, the printer adds a “protein layer” that may or may not taste like real cheese.
While the project remains small, it opens up the door to many possibilities for food synthesis both on Earth and in the greater solar system.