Savour the flavour of the future

As humanity ventures into the cosmos, this sci-fi short takes a speculative look at the flavourful faux fruits of the future. But who wrote this – a human or AI?

This future-set fiction addresses the present from the year 2030

NutriOrb is the perfect fusion of
nutrition, innovation and indulgence. 

Humans need fruit as part of a healthy, tasty and well-balanced diet. Tang instant drink mix, tube food and freeze-dried ice cream were the iconic, and icky, original orbital edibles. But now, in 2030, we have NutriOrbs.

This story is part of a future-focused series with Futurity Systems that allows us to imagine better. Read all the features.

British naval surgeon and physician James Lind found in 1748 that citrus fruits prevented his sailors from getting scurvy – hence the sailor nickname “Limey”. But fruits spoil too quickly and grow too slowly to survive even the speedy 80-day first class SpaceX Starship cruises to Mars; much less the more affordable 150-day transits. Whatever is eaten needs to be recycled into edible food again, as fast as the processors can cycle them (slower cycles mean more food matter is dead weight). 

As humanity ventures into the cosmos, maintaining good health and relishing delectable meals become crucial for our courageous space travellers. Developed by the Spanish Space Agency (AEE), NutriOrb is an innovative fruit substitute that aims to revolutionise dining experiences during extended space missions while ensuring optimal nutrition.

Spain, the largest citrus producer in Europe, has now extended its expertise to the realm of space nutrition. Featuring a cellulose-printed skin, NutriOrb emulates the texture of genuine fruits and berries. The gel interiors are infused with flavours, vitamins and soluble fibre for a delightful and satisfying bite. Astronauts can now enjoy the comforts of home while preserving their wellbeing in the infinite expanse of space.

The true magic of NutriOrb resides in its on-demand printing capabilities. Using specialised equipment that merges gels and fibres, astronauts can create a wide variety of tailor-made fruit substitutes to suit their unique needs and tastes.

NutriOrb’s potential, however, extends beyond space travel; it is set to revolutionise how we approach personalised vitamin supplementation right here on Earth. Delectable and customisable, these fruit and berry substitutes present a refreshing alternative to traditional supplements, making nutrition an enjoyable experience for all. As suitable climates vanish, NutriOrb provides a remarkable reminder of flavours we may soon lose to climate crime.

As our exploration of the universe continues and we push the boundaries of human potential, NutriOrb ushers in a new epoch of sustainable and delightful dining experiences, both beyond Earth’s atmosphere and in our daily lives. Prepare to embark on an interstellar taste journey with NutriOrb, the perfect fusion of nutrition, innovation and indulgence, proudly brought to you by the leading citrus producer in Europe.

What’s so good about this?

The future is a hard place to understand. Future-set speculative fiction is not designed to predict the future, but to plausibly and logically tell a story about what we see around us now. It allows us to imagine better.

This article is part of a series of speculative fiction and interviews in partnership with Futurity Systems, a research and design venture studio working at the intersection of tech, society, business innovation and impact to “build better futures, faster”. Their lifestyle magazine, inTENSE, offers a dress rehearsal of the future by exploring how deep tech will shape the world around us in 2030. Read all the features.

Follow: futurity.systems / @futuritysystems

Meet the writer

This was written by Magda Mojsiejuk, Lead Artifact Designer and Future Synthesist at Futurity Systems. The artist and designer works with speculative design and new technologies.

Or was it? As we enter a remarkable new era of co-creation and discussion around the ethics of AI and the metaverse, we can now reveal that this article was created… using AI tools, ChatGPT-4 and Midjourney.

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