A spaceship that tastes like Grape-Nuts

This morning, Marketplace Tech Report had a story on a new cellulose-based building material that could be made by genetically engineered bacteria — altered versions of the bacteria that naturally make stuff like kombucha. This tech sounds like it's got a long way to go from laboratory to the real world, but if they can perfect the process and make it large enough quantities, what you'd end up with a strong, inexpensive goop that could be used to build everything from medical dressings, to digital paper, to spaceships. Yes, you could theoretically use this stuff to make rocket casings, according to R. Malcolm Brown, Jr., a professor of cell biology at UT Austin. And if you can build a rocket from this stuff, you could also break the same material back down into an edible, high-fiber foodstuff.


  1. I can’t find the reference right now, but there is a reference in one of Lem’s Ijon Tichy stories about using foodstuffs to build rockets, with the idea that the marooned space traveler could survive by eating the seat cushions, control panels, and even by judiciously nibbling at the support girders.

    Life has a way of turning even the most ludicrous SF ideas into reality.

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