NASA’s new project? Figuring out how to print a pizza

05.21.13 5 years ago


We were promised flying cars, but instead we got turbocharged razors with Fusion Power Phantom and Sensor Excel. We were told we’d be able to colonize Mars, but we just built more strip malls. We were bombarded with tales of robot maids, and now we’re simply getting a $125,000 machine that can print out food. Wait, what?

Yes indeed, it looks like NASA’s latest project is a 3D printer that will actually turn cartridges full of powder into ostensibly edible meals. If all goes according to plan, the printer will be used to feed astronauts while they’re up there orbiting outer space — as if those guys didn’t already have the coolest goddamn job. That $125,000 price tag is all for a single project, an attempt to create the world’s most expensive pizza. Cowabunga, or whatever!

Here’s how it’s going to work: first, the machine will spit out a layer of dough, which will actually cook while it’s being printed. Next, tomato powder will be mixed with oil and water to generate the sauce. Following that is the “protein layer” topping, which might come from animals, milk or plants. And then? Your friendly local astronaut will attempt to choke it down.

I’ve got to say that this is a pretty huge leap in printer technology. I mean, I can’t even get a 10-page PDF to print out without having to restart my machine 3 times. Do they teach you how to change an ink cartridge in astronaut school?

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