Most everyone who has been to a pizzeria has seen the chef hand toss the Pizza dough in the air. Throwing pizza dough shapes and stretches it to fit the pan without it losing as much moisture as rolling it out. In any event, the Astronauts on the International Space Station applied new meaning to flying pizza when they recently prepared snacks for movie night under the direction of Italian astronaut Paulo Nespoli.

The art of pizza making in microgravity

As one might imagine, putting together a pizza with the sauce and toppings is a little more complicated in microgravity than it is in your mom’s kitchen. Fortunately, the sauce acts as a binding agent, making the toppings, which look like a lot of pepperoni in the accompanying video, stick to the dough.

Of course, these astronauts tossing prepared pizzas across the ISS module, it could just as easily have been part of a science experiment, combining several principles of physics. Tossing food about in space would seem to make one aware that — pizza and space travel are indescribably cool things. In any case, Nespoli, in his expert opinion, pronounced the pizza unexpectedly delicious.

The future of pizza in space

Handmade pizza in space may soon be a thing of the past if experiments in the 3D printing of pizzas come to fruition. It turns out that pizza, which is after all layers of different kinds of food combined into one dish, is the perfect confection to make with a 3D printer. Start with a layer of dough, then of sauce, then toppings, then finally cheese and the favorite Saturday night dinner can be made from stores of nutrient pastes into something that resembles the real thing made by your Italian grandma or delivered by Papa Johns or Dominos.

It will be just the thing for breaking the tedium of those months-long voyages to Mars. If the process can be sped up quicker, you’ll be seeing automatic pizza vending machines at ballparks and theme parks pretty soon.

The next step in experiments in pizza making in space will be hand tossing the dough in low gravity. What will be the consistency of the dough that has been tossed in the air at a lunar colony as imagined by Andy Weir in the book “Artemis” or at Elon Musk’s imagined city on Mars? Maybe, as civilization finally begins to expand outwards, will have quick, fast food style 3D printed pizza and the more refined, hand-tossed kind. An advanced society is, after all, about choices and the ability to make them.