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In recent times there's been a lot of talk of whether 3-D printed food is the future of gastronomy. Now the topic has taken a spin that's, well, out of this world. It turns out that NASA has approved funding for the creation of a 3-D printer so astronauts can eat pizza in space.
NASA has awarded a $125,000 grant to Systems & Materials Research Corporation to create what they call a 3D ''food synthesizer'' in the next six months, Quartz reports.
Company owner and mechanical engineer Anjan Contractor said the pizza printer is in its conceptual stages. Pizza is a natural choice, he said, because all of its components can be printed individually.
3D Food Printer prototype
This is how it would work: the pizza dough would be baked at the same time it is being printed, then it would be topped with a tomato layer in powder form which would be mixed with water and oil before receiving a final ''protein layer'' that would be derived from milk, animal or plant sources.
''Long distance space travel requires 15-puls years of shelf life. The way we are working on it is, all the carbs, proteins and macro and micro nutrients are in powder form. We take moisture out, and in that form it will last maybe 30 years,'' Contractor said.
The chocolate 3D printer featured in the video below is what helped Contractor secure the NASA grant.
NASA researchers are currently working on a number of options to feed astronatus during their planned Mars Mission in the 2030s. So far, those plans have included a vegan menu and even hydroponic farms so astronauts can grow produce at zero gravity.