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Engineering Materials
Video: 3D Printing With Moon Rocks
12/26/2012

Washington State University engineers have 3D-printed some simple-shaped objects using a simulant of lunar regolith, a mixture of loose dust, rock, and soil that covers solid bedrock. Shown here, Apollo 16 astronaut Charlie Duke drives a core sample tube into the lunar regolith.   (Source: NASA)
Washington State University engineers have 3D-printed some simple-shaped objects using a simulant of lunar regolith, a mixture of loose dust, rock, and soil that covers solid bedrock. Shown here, Apollo 16 astronaut Charlie Duke drives a core sample tube into the lunar regolith.
(Source: NASA)

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ChasChas
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Re: 3D printing with moon dust.
ChasChas   12/31/2012 11:43:54 AM
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I may need a correction here.

There are hydrocarbons forming in space without life.

http://www.wnd.com/2012/12/guess-what-fossil-fuels-dont-come-from/

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: 3D printing with moon dust.
Ann R. Thryft   1/2/2013 12:10:20 PM
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ChasChas, minerals are not to be dismissed--and they are also found on the moon. If a widescale disaster happened here on Earth, as in sci-fi novels and movies, and all cultures got sent back to the stone age, it would be really difficult to re-create current conditions primarily because we've used up most of the Earth's minerals that were available via mining, to forge metals. Those metals are what we used to build machines, including the ones that then built other materials. The history of industrial technology is an interesting and instructive study.

emneumann
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Iron
Re: 3D printing with moon dust.
emneumann   1/7/2013 1:58:35 PM
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I'd like to point out that the materials upon which our technology is based aren't consumed and made to be unusable once they have been incorporated into our machines and infrastructure.  That is to say, we have not "used up" the iron, aluminum and other raw materials and they will be more accessible to future post dark age humanity that they were to our ancestors.  They will just be in other places and not in their native ores.  They will be in land fills, salvage yards and in the infrastructure concentrated in urban areas.  In fact, many of them will be in a form much more recognizable as useful to people in a dystopian future than they were the first time we dug them out of the ground.  Granted, fossil fuels will be much harder to find but that should be the only resource disadvantage to future peoples trying to build a technological society from scratch. 

This reminds me of the folks who think money spent on space exploration disappears into the vacuum of the void with the few insignificant pounds of materials that we actually send into space.  That money feeds into the economy and allows many people to feed their families, pay their mortgages, etc. and is in no way a waste or lost forever.

Thanks for the great article!

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: 3D printing with moon dust.
Ann R. Thryft   1/7/2013 6:09:16 PM
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emneumann, thanks for the comments, and glad you liked the article. Unfortunately, we *have* used up many, perhaps even most, sources of raw native ores. Scrap and reclaimed metals are by no means easily reusable at the same strengths as when originally forged. Aluminum makers claim theirs is, but as usual, that depends on several variables. The dystopic scenarios are not confined to science fiction.

kellyjones001
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Iron
printing with moon rocks
kellyjones001   7/11/2013 6:07:52 AM
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really an informative and awesome article containing much interesting information.

can add knowledge to our thougts.

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Debera Harward
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3D Printing with Moon Rocks
Debera Harward   7/11/2013 7:58:15 AM
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Ann this is really very informative article , thats really great that researchers are working on 3D printing by lunar rocks . This will drop down the cargo charges for the objects in case of development on moon . Many years back i heard that astronauts wants  to colonize the moon but it was very difficult now what i feel in the near futur to develop coloniese it will be very easy to develop colonies on moon .

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: 3D Printing with Moon Rocks
Ann R. Thryft   7/11/2013 1:12:05 PM
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Thanks, Deberah. The cost of the fuel and logistics involved in shipping stuff to astronauts on the space station, the moon, or another planet is considered by many to be one of the main reasons humans haven't gone on longer space voyages or spent time on the moon. Another is figuring out how to protect us from harmful cosmic ray radiation.

Debera Harward
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Silver
Re: 3D Printing with Moon Rocks
Debera Harward   7/11/2013 4:22:45 PM
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Ann , you are absolutely correct the main issue these days for astronauts  is cosmic ray radiation , these radiations are very harmfull and causes severe cellular damage which can result least in cancer and can lead to deaths as well .I have read somewhere that using plastic in deep space can drop down the issue of cosmic rays . Plastic reduces the radiation from fast moving charged particles cosmic rays , Anything with high hydrogen content with water will work well. However NASA is working in all of these remedies to find out a  perfect solution .

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: 3D Printing with Moon Rocks
Ann R. Thryft   7/11/2013 6:39:51 PM
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Funny you should mention that about certain types of plastic helping to shield astronauts from cosmic rays. You're right--it's in an instrument in NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter. I just wrote a blog on this discovery that will be appearing soon.

Cabe Atwell
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Re: 3D Printing with Moon Rocks
Cabe Atwell   5/20/2014 3:22:47 AM
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I never thought about the cosmic radiation aspect in the building materials. Just how effective can the be? Can it stop Gamma radiation or will it turn astronauts into space Hulks?

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