One of the major problems we face as a nascent spacefaring civilization is how to provide explorers with enough supplies for long voyages in space. Provisions take up room—a lot of room for a 1.5 year round trip to Mars—and require either long-term storage, or time and energy to maintain. Well yet again it looks like 3-D printers are going to come to the rescue, this time, by providing 3-D printed food!
Ok, so its not exactly like a replicator from Star Trek, which turned energy directly into matter, but 3-D printed food might just be the answer not only for how to provide enough food for space travelers, but for the many hungry people down here on Earth.
Using various powders, concentrates, and oils, it looks like it might be possible to store food in much more basic forms and 3-D print meals to order. This means no more wasted food as only what is necessary for a portion will be used at any given time. It also means that the storage area required could be significantly smaller than with traditional methods, such as MRE’s and other freeze-dried delicacies like astronaut ice cream. Less payload means more room for fuel and other supplies, but it also means less the ship would way less, requiring proportionally less fuel in the first place.
But what about down here on planet Earth, where literally millions and millions of people go hungry everyday? Well, just like it space the transportation and storage of foodstuffs would be significantly less complicated and costly. First off, the need for refrigeration might almost completely vanish, and more material could be transported at once. Imagine stations set up all over the world where people can get freshly 3-D printed meals every day, just like Mom used to make!
As with so many recent scientific advancements this is one that could forever revolutionize our world!