In order to investigate how future astronauts could one day be able to manufacture tools and rocket parts in space, scientists claim to have put a strong titanium alloy and a small amount of replicated Martian regolith into a 3D printer. …
Anything sent into space must be pricey. According to study published this summer in the International Journal of Applied Ceramic Technology, NASA spent around $54,000 per kilogramme only to send something into Earth’s orbit using space shuttles, whereas SpaceX advertises rates for launching a 200kg cargo starting at $1.2 million.
If objects can be immediately 3D printed in space rather than having to be carried in from Earth, a team of academics led by Washington State University (WSU) in the US believes launch costs can be decreased.
Amit Bandyopadhyay, a professor in WSU’s School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering and co-author of the study, stated in a statement on Tuesday that “3D printing is something that has to happen in space if we want to think of a manned mission because we really cannot carry everything from here.” “And we cannot go back to get anything if we forget it,”
Future astronauts will ideally be able to find everything they need to 3D print something on the Moon or Mars. So, scientists set out to see if they could use Martian regolith to make usable materials in a 3D printer.