Are 3D printed pizzas in space the best use of taxpayer dollars?

Thinking that pizza is “out of this world” is now a literal statement. In 2013, NASA issued a $125,000 grant to the study of using 3D printing to make food. With manned space missions to the moon and Mars on the horizon, NASA is searching for ways to ensure nutritional diets for astronauts.

After years of research, and over $1 million dollars of additional funding, BeeHex introduces the first ever 3D printer that prints pizza. Chef 3D uses fresh dough and tomatoes to make pizza in under five minutes. While space crafts aren’t yet able to store these ingredients for long periods of time, a 3D printer would be able to incorporate powder or other ingredients.

The future of Chef 3D is positive, as BeeHex is looking to introduce these 3D printers into the commercial market in addition to outer space. In the future, creating and ordering a pizza from these new machines could be a click on an app away. You need not be an astronaut to enjoy a fresh-made pizza like this. Not only are these printers self-cleaning, but they can take any jpg file and convert the pizza into the shape of the image.

The question to focus on now is whether these machines are worth the cost. Pizza is incredibly affordable, and with a variety of ingredients to make pizza recipes different and delicious, is it justifiable to spend thousands of dollars on a machine that creates something that can be made much more affordable on our own? Granted, astronauts may not find the solution that easy.

3D food printing is becoming a more and more popular trend. While many machines are still in the early design stages, the Pancakebot is one of the few 3D food printers now available — and yes, it prints customizable pancakes ... for only $300.

In future years, we’re bound to get to the point where people can print food in a cost-effective way.

As for now, the cost and results are looking laughable, albeit impressive. Technology is entering a new frontier, starting with 3D pizza printers in space and pretty soon your kitchen.

And that’s hard to swallow when the total debt in the United States hovers around $250 trillion upon including Social Security and the other legally binding social welfare entitlement programs. That actually tastes like anchovies. 

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