Replicators, teleporters, warp drive, and medical technology that far surpasses what we have today – all are the stuff of daydreams in our current age. However many Star Trek fans may be interested to know that technology has just inched us a little closer to the utopian ideal that is the world of Star Trek.
Last year NASA teamed up with a company out of Austin, Texas called Systems & Materials Research Consultancy (SMRC) to create a prototype replicator based on 3D printer technology. NASA’s interest is in having a means to make food for its astronauts on missions of long duration.
The founder of SMRC, Anjan Contractor, created just such a 3D printer to create a mini-pizza. The process takes 12 minutes and uses non-perishable components such as powder, water, and oil. The replicator/printer heats up the pizza and voila, an astronaut’s pizza craving is sated!
Currently astronauts suffer the indignity of eating fairly tasteless freeze-dried food out of packets, so even though this pizza may not look all that appetizing, it most definitely beats the alternative in a bag.
A statement from SMRC read, “ By exploring and implementing technologies such as 3-D printing, this may avoid food shortage, inflation, starvation, famine, and even food wars.” Very lofty goals indeed, however I think for most of us, home-cooked meals will always remain the tasty alternative. At least for now.
Til the next time!