Image: Michael Indresano Production

Pasta might not make you think “science.” But then again, you’ve probably haven’t shouted “holy shit” while you watched it curl up before your eyes.

A team of MIT and Syracuse University researchers are working on how to reduce food shipping costs and required storage space—a fairly mundane problem, admittedly, but an important one. There are plenty of folks who need a lot of food in a small amount of space, like hikers and even astronauts. The scientists have come up with “transformative appetite,” where two-dimensional films of a gelatin-cellulose composite curl up into various 3D shapes in water. One day, hopefully, they’ll be able to make pasta do the same.

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But why pasta? Because people love pasta. And “people who love pasta are really picky about different shapes,” study author Lining Yao told Gizmodo. “Books will tell you which shape goes with which sauce and goes with which mouth feel and flavors. There are a lot of tricks for manufacturing different shapes to create unique eating experiences.”