[caption id="attachment_71830" align="aligncenter" width="654"] NASA Makes First 3D Printer For Food To Help astronauts[/caption]
NASA deploys 3D food printer
Systems and Materials Research Corporation (SMRC) has been awarded a contract by NASA to design and develop a prototype 3-D printer capable of creating food. The basic premise is that the machine would be loaded with oils, powders, proteins and other digestible ingredients and then having it print the edible food. The ingredients are said to have a shelf life of 30 years.
Anjan Contractor of the Systems and Materials Research Corporation says 3-D printers are already being used to create chocolate, but now plans to take the concept a step further by manufacturing a pizza via the printer. The process entails the printer mixing up a layer of dough, cooking it, then depositing the next. Tomato sauce will be created from powder, water and oil. Then, with the addition of a 'protein layer' the process is finished and the pizza created.
Food is only one of the many uses NASA has in store for it's space-bound 3-D printers. Tools, spare parts or any other supplies that the astronauts may ever need can be created with this new technology. Inventor Andrew Filo, who is consulting with NASA on the 3-D printer project is excited about the opportunities. "It's like Christmas."
According to the offical press release from NASA:
As NASA ventures farther into space, whether redirecting an asteroid or sending astronauts to Mars, the agency will need to make improvements in life support systems, including how to feed the crew during those long deep space missions. NASA's Advanced Food Technology program is interested in developing methods that will provide food to meet safety, acceptability, variety, and nutritional stability requirements for long exploration missions, while using the least amount of spacecraft resources and crew time. The current food system wouldn't meet the nutritional needs and five-year shelf life required for a mission to Mars or other long duration missions. Because refrigeration and freezing require significant spacecraft resources, current NASA provisions consist solely of individually prepackaged shelf stable foods, processed with technologies that degrade the micronutrients in the foods.
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