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Engineering Materials
NASA Builds 3D Printer for Space
7/3/2013

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After nearly two years of R&D, and testing several different commercial 3D printers in zero gravity, NASA has partnered with Made in Space to develop a 3D printer for use on the Moon, Mars, and elsewhere in the solar system. It will be certified and launched next year for initial deployment on the International Space Station.   (Source: Made in Space)
After nearly two years of R&D, and testing several different commercial 3D printers in zero gravity, NASA has partnered with Made in Space to develop a 3D printer for use on the Moon, Mars, and elsewhere in the solar system. It will be certified and launched next year for initial deployment on the International Space Station.
(Source: Made in Space)

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Rob Spiegel
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Re: Interesting R&D
Rob Spiegel   8/2/2013 7:38:34 PM
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Yes, it's very interesting. I like the idea that we're etting to the point w here we could build roads and structures on the moon using moondust.

Cabe Atwell
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Re: Interesting R&D
Cabe Atwell   7/31/2013 7:08:26 PM
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According to the Made in Space press release, they tested various 3D printers back in 2011. Perhaps they were done on the ISS or maybe even on NASA's 'Vomit Comet' plane. Still it's interesting to see where this will lead!

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Interesting R&D
Rob Spiegel   7/25/2013 8:24:16 PM
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Good point, elizabeth. But it think it depends on what branch of government. If building on the moon was a matter of national security, there would be a budget for it. The original space program was an elaborate national security effort to keep up with and eventually surpass, the Soviet Union. That's why it was well funded. When the space program was no longer viewed as a national security efflort, the funding dried up.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Interesting R&D
Elizabeth M   7/24/2013 9:04:08 AM
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You're right, Rob, the technology is there...I just don't think the budget is! I used to write about the government space and to my recollection, they had a lot of budget cuts and financial worries there. So perhaps that's why this is all stalled even though the technology is there. With 3D printing and other technologies making things easier and cheaper, perhaps it will get a kick start.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Interesting R&D
Rob Spiegel   7/23/2013 8:29:25 AM
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The amazing thing, Elizabeth, is that it is no longer futuristic. The technology is ready now. Maybe moves like this could help break the stalled human-based space program.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Interesting R&D
Elizabeth M   7/23/2013 5:17:32 AM
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Exactly, Rob, so by the time legislation catches up, the technology will be ready for this type of futuristic project to happen. I hope it's in my lifetime! Would love to see that...or even go there.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Interesting R&D
Rob Spiegel   7/22/2013 4:24:40 PM
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Like you, Elizabeth, I don't have high hopes for the bill, but I like it that the idea is getting discussed. I also like the idea that the tools for creating a habitat on the moon are getting developed.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Interesting R&D
Elizabeth M   7/22/2013 3:31:02 AM
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A national park on the moon? Wow! Although given the pace of bills sometimes, it may take awhile for that to happen. But still, the possibility is incredible.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Interesting R&D
Rob Spiegel   7/19/2013 5:46:39 PM
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It's starting to happen, Elizabeth. A couple of representatives have introduced a House bill to create a national park on the moon: H.R. 2617.

 

Mydesign
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Re: 3D printing at space station
Mydesign   7/19/2013 3:12:55 AM
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"thanks for the clarification. The whole point of 3D printers in space is to provide tools, replacement parts, etc. onsite."

Ann, replace parts- you mean that printing the exact parts in 3 dimensions and replacing it as component at space station. Amazing, plan to buy one for my office (grin)

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