Sunday, April 26, 2015

3D Printers Rise in Prominence in Space Travel

Just a few years ago there was an excitement from the technology developed by a few young people. They thought why cant we use the technology of a regular printer to use material other than ink to actually build 3 dimensional objects. This opened a whole new search for a large gamut of material choices to use in these machines. Recently a new set of rosins were discovered that while in liquid state seemingly similar to the what you may see in the Hollywood movie terminator. This helps the 3D printer build things so much faster than the more primitive 3D models here on earth. Read: Washington Post - Mind Blowing 3D Printing material

NASA scientists find this printer technology just developed in a few short years so vitally important to the future of space travel. As they expand deeper into space with human space travel, space is so critical. Taking a whole supply of parts or tools is not a option, but an ability to build what you absolutely need is essential. Recently the space station has been testing today's 3D printers in low gravity. NASA - Building in Zero Gravity on Space Station As expected the  problem to overcome is that liquid surface tension changes to low gravity. So the search for materials with with surface tension characteristics more adaptive to space is on. Could the 3D printer require gravity simulation devices? Present technology has small hurdles to overcome. Will the solution come from verging two or more existing technologies, or will we discover a new use for an existing technology? Will sharing these concerns with others on the internet to a world of different backgrounds and experiences, accelerate the solution is yet to be seen. Using the vast array of potential tools combined with the world of computerized machines, still relies on human curiosity and the drive to innovate. 

Preparing for Space Station 3D printing