Wow, this is really incredible. It's amazing to think that instead of having to send astronauts on missions to deliver machine parts to the ISS, now they will be able to fabricate them on board through 3D printing. What a breakthrough and it will certainly save NASA a lot of money. The moon habitat project is also fascinating. 3D printing truly has the potential to be one of the most disruptive technologies in use today.
I agree, it might be anologous to as what a CNC machine does here on the earth. Where you enter the cordinates and you can create your own metal parts. NASA is already doing R&D on that, hope they accomplish it soon.
Its great to see NASA taking all the Innovative steps to make their space programs more efficient. At first, I was intrigued as to what 3d printing will do in space? But it seems that it is nothing less then a necesssity. Saving fuel costs and transportation delays will greatly benefit the space programs.
Especially, the selective laser melting(SLS) if produced by NASA, will be of great use to cater for any maintenance problems in the launching system of space, as any broken or worn out parts would be produced in the space effectively. Looking forward to it.
Good to see the foresight that NASA has in this area. I think the next steps will be to expand the different types of material that can be used for printing (since ABS is not suitable for every appliction). Some type of 3D printing that can produce a metal object would be very desireable also. Perhaps the ABS matrix can be loaded with metal particles as a next step.
Also, I can see where this technology needs to eventually be paired with a CAD workstation nearby (since some astronauts may want to design their parts in space also, rather than totally depending upon an earth station uplink for data).
According to me there is no doubt vast usage of 3D printers in Space , The ability to 3D print tools greatly increases the reliability while dropping down the cost of transportation. Initially only testing items will be created later on actual tools and other parts will be created . These printers can be used for laboratories over there small satellites for deployment can be built , tools needed for human missions and so on.
Yes Rob , I am too excited to listen that 3D printers will be created for space , roads and things will be created their this is too fascinating . It will help reduce the transportation time secondly this will also help to creat the whole spacecraft on space only isnt it exciting ...
I agree, Rob. I think building stuff on Mars or the Moon with local materials makes a lot of sense. Similar 3D printed building technologies are being developed on earth. I covered them here in Future Cities: http://www.ubmfuturecities.com/author.asp?section_id=262&doc_id=523906 and Cabe has also written about some in DN. There's also a link at the end of this current article to one I wrote on making stuff with simulated moon rocks. Regarding the simulation of zero gravity, Made in Space did this with "microgravity," via the sub-orbital flight testing we mention in the article.
This is pretty interesting stuff, Ann. I especially like the idea of building roads and structures on the moon using lunar material. Wow. As for the 3D printer, I wonder how they simulate zero graviety.
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