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Astronaut floats idea of 3D printing food in space

The prospect of longer missions has increased the focus on nutrition for space travellers.

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The night sky viewed from near Howick, Northumberland (Owen Humphreys/PA)

The night sky viewed from near Howick, Northumberland (Owen Humphreys/PA)

The night sky viewed from near Howick, Northumberland (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Astronauts of the future may be tucking into food from 3D printers in space.

The eating habits of astronauts are said to have improved over the years with more emphasis on nutrition, which is seen as more crucial with the prospect of longer missions.

The subject was discussed in an online session of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting.

Talking about eating on lengthy spaceflights, Professor Reinhold Ewald, a former European Space Agency astronaut, said eating habits have got better.

He said in the past they would have had a packet of crisps and that was enough to keep them going through the day.

“I think we will be 3D printing food on the long run.

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The planet Mars (Nasa/Esa/PA)

The planet Mars (Nasa/Esa/PA)

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The planet Mars (Nasa/Esa/PA)

“There’s no way to grill it or to barbeque it, so you have to find other ways, and I think chefs are quite inventive to add taste to something that probably doesn’t look so nice as your daily food on the ground,” he said.

Mr Ewald also referred to the importance of having enough vitamins on the likes of a long voyage to Mars.

Professor Nate Szewczyk, of the University of Nottingham, agreed and said: “That’s entirely true and I’m sure you’re just as aware as I am that one of the favourite things people like to have shipped up is fresh fruits and vegetables, and particularly things that are high in vitamin C.

“And I think it’s a lot of the vitamins, vitamin A as well, that are things that going to be a bit of a struggle for long-term colonisation type missions.”

The 45-minute session focused on the effects of space travel on the human body.

PA


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