May 24, 2013
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Pizza hot off a 3D Printer!

3D Food Printer

Schematic of SMRC’s Food Printer

It appears that 3D printed food is even closer to science fact than fiction as NASA award a grant of US$125,000 to American manufacturer SMRC (Systems and Materials Research Consultancy), a Texas based company which plans to develop a 3D food printer suitable for use in long-duration manned space flights.

NASA’s senior public affairs officer, David Steitz said that the projects ability to address issues of shelf life, taste and nutrition were key drivers in the decision to fund SMRC’s project.

“NASA is funding this feasibility study on 3D printing of foods to determine the capability of this technology to enable nutrient stability and provide a variety of foods from shelf-stable ingredients, while minimizing crew time and waste”.

The 3D food printing device would mix stored micro and macro-nutrients into a paste (based on a digital recipe) to be “printed” onto a heated plate for cooking. The result a quick, hot, nutritious and flavorful meal for astronauts. Taking for example a pizza a 3D printing component will print a layer of dough (which will provide structure and texture) followed by the ink jet printing a layer of tomato-flavored paste and a layer of pizza topping-flavored protein( which will provide flavor and smell).

The project is currently in its infancy, with funding awarded for the initial 6 months feasibility study. If successful the SMRC will then have to move on to a 24 month development period after which eligibility for commercial manufacture will be reassessed.

Deep Space Pizza

Images Sourced from : http://uk.lifestyle.yahoo.com/photos/3d-print-demand-pizza-space-photo-181500489.html

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