NASA and printable food. I can’t stop thinking about the Jetsons enjoying their utopian food pills. Which never happened, of course, because it’s a dumb idea.
Printable food doesn’t sound all that much more appealing than those Jetsons food pills. But the stories deal with that issue – “If eating something spat out by the same kind of 3D printers…doesn’t sound too appetizing, that’s only because you can currently afford the good stuff.”
Meaning as real food becomes more scarce, people will happily eat printed food over no food.
Ok, I agree that people would eat printed food rather than go hungry. But I don’t understand how printed food will solve hunger.
The printer ingredients will be food with moisture removed – presumably dehydrated or freeze dried stuff. That exists today and has 30+ year storage life. Campers and hikers use it all the time because without the water weight this stuff is very easy to carry. You just add water and you get pretty tasty food.
It isn’t cheap, though. Freeze drying in particular is a fairly expensive process. And both freeze drying and dehydration remove nutrients from the food (particularly Vitamin C, I believe). It’s also quite hard to store fats long term. I assume long term space flights would focus on growing fats in plants for the trip, not packing them along from earth.
Bottom line, you still have to start with actual food for these printers, and then go through a costly process to dehydrate or freeze dry it, along with other processing. And then incur yet more costs (equipement and energy and service of equipment) to “print it out.”
Perhaps this gives astronauts more variety and precision in space over regular freeze dried/dehydrated food. But I don’t see why, anytime in our lifetimes, a food printer would make sense in our kitchens. It would likely taste worse than real food, and yet require the same amount of real food to produce.
The way to end hunger is to have less people, and to phase out meat in general over plant based foods. Ending corruption in food aid would also go a long way to ending hunger. Food printers? Not so much.