NASA’s Star Trek Replicator Challenge Asks You To Design the Future of Space Food


Star Trek’s replicators were the original 3D printers in space, and now NASA and Star Trek are asking students to help make them a reality. The Star Trek Replicator Challenge tasks K-12 students with designing a non-edible food item that could be printed by astronauts living off the Earth in the year 2050.

The ASME Foundation’s Future Engineers program is taking on food in space with a little help from Star Trek. The Star Trek Replicator Challenge is a contest sponsored by ASME Foundation, NASA, and Star Trek to get K-12 students to develop food-related items that could be 3D printed in places like Mars, the moon, deep space, or wherever they see human space explorers in the year 2050. The official website describes the contest without missing a single opportunity for a Star Trek reference:

Calling all Starfleet cadets! Star Trek™ and NASA want you to engineer the future of food in space. If you are a K-12 student in the United States, your challenge is to create a digital 3D model of a non-edible, food-related item for astronauts to 3D print in the year 2050. We want students to ‘boldy go where no one has gone before’ with 3D printing, by making designs that help astronauts eat nutritious meals so they can ‘live long and prosper’ in locations beyond the International Space Station. Eating a meal in space involves more than the actual food itself – from growing plants to preparing and eating meals.

The Star Trek Replicator Challenge, which launched at a Kids’ Week event at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York, will runs through May 1. Winners will receive prizes such as a trip to New York for an astronaut-guided tour of the Space Shuttle Enterprise at the Intrepid Museum, a 3-D printer for the winners’ school, or a Star Trek prize pack.

Go to to read the rules and enter the contest.



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Tat last, the means to replicate the low fat Cheeseburger En Masse!

Looks like someone needs to update a story, Amazon just renewed it’s Trek streaming license, so much for CBS pulling the shows.

The real news will be when they invent a real replicator. I want anything I want to instantly appear out of thin air.

@4. Damn physics. Yesterdays captains long, todays beef wellington, with a side of grey water soup.

Or SOS, depending on the mood of the cook.

Log. Captains log.

The real replicator challenge is the politics behind the distribution model so that it can get to the needy. That’s what created Star Trek’s future without money.

@Kayla. So you cofirmed this with reputable sources? Or are you making an assumption? Also it was not a matter of “when we thought they might disappear” the shows were marked with a specific “leaving date” on the service, this marking is now gone. Now for netflix on the other hand the shows were not ever marked as leaving the service at all.

The replicator by itself wasn’t enough to create Treks cashless economy. At a basic level, technological alchemy wouldn’t solve the problems on the needy – there still has to be raw material and cheap, plentiful energy for the magic box to work, something the needy wouldn’t necessarily have. The political will would have created a society where basic needs were universally met, but encouraged individual growth that created value in society – value that was defined in Trek through a medium of exchange.

Frankly Trekcore has been a lot more reliable a source of Trek news than trekmovie for quite some time now. Sad really.

@ 9

Have to agree. This site is no longer my first port of call for Trek news unfortunately

NASA Star Trek Replicator challenge…to which grade school kids across the country reply…”what’s Star Trek?” and “what’s NASA?” and then go back to playing with their Star Wars toys.

# 13. bmar – February 18, 2016

“…and then go back to playing with their Star Wars toys.” — bmar

I wouldn’t be so sure of that. Looks like Mattel has other plans:

“Mattel’s 3D toy printer gives kids toys on demand”:

I wonder if it can be adapted to meet implementing the kids’ solutions to the Replicator challenge?

On Earth’s day it’s Thanksgiving. If the crew has to eat synthetic meatloaf I want it to look like turkey.

Nobody has even touched the fact that all they are asking for is for kids to design kitchen tools and food related items that NASA can already print now. Not to mention, a kid isn’t going to be excited to hear that his creation won but won’t go into space until he’s 40 yrs old. I love that quote “It could go to space in 2050”. By then the person wouldn’t even remember entering the contest. I seriously doubt we’ll still be using todays filament printers in 2050 anyway.

Crew Suggestions…..

Picard: “Tea: Earl Gray, hot.”

Paris: “Plain, hot, tomato soup.”

Troi: “Hot fudge sundae”

20 century Sgt: “How ’bout some chicken soup?”

Galley cook: “Sir, there’s real turkeys in the ovens!”

also throw in some of those multi colored cubes from TOS buffet tables!!!

The video is so adorable!