Metal is 3D Printed on the Space Station

S-curve 3D printing on the ISS

I have always wanted a 3D printer but never quite found a good enough reason to get one. Seeing that NASA are now 3D printing metal is even more tantalising than a plastic 3D printer. However, thinking about it, surely it is just a computer controlled soldering iron! I’m sure it’s far more advanced than that! Turns out that the first print really wasn’t much to right home about, just an s-curve deposited onto a metal plate! It does however prove and demonstrate the principle that a laser can liquify stainless steel and then deposit it precisely in a weightless environment. 

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Chitin Could be the Perfect Building Material on Mars

An artist's illustration of a Mars settlement. Image: Bryan Versteeg/MarsOne
An artist's illustration of an early Mars settlement. Credit: Bryan Versteeg/MarsOne

It’s hard to deny that we’re heading for a future with a human presence on Mars. But to develop sustained presence, there are an enormous number of technical problems to be worked out. One of those problems concerns manufacturing and building.

We can’t send everything people will need to Mars. We’ll need some way to build structures, and tools and other things.

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