Most 3D printers use some sort of filament or resin to create small objects that are used in manufacturers’ projects, aftermarket parts, or in efforts to learn what a 3,000 year old mummy looked like. NASA would like to abandon these materials in favor of something else: moon rocks.
Universe Today reports that the agency sent a 3D printer to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of the Redwire Regolith Print (RRP) project to determine whether alien materials can enable “on-demand construction of solid structures and sustainable “. as NASA says.
The space agency said the RRP was specifically designed to allow the use of regolith – dust, broken rocks and other materials found on the surface of alien objects – with the Made In Space Manufacturing Device (ManD) 3D printer. who was already on board the ISS.
âThe primary goal of performing print operations is to successfully demonstrate the capability of the manufacturing process in microgravity,â said NASA. “The secondary objective of printing operations is to produce material samples for scientific analysis.”
The viability of microgravity regolith-based 3D printing could directly affect future missions to the Moon and Mars. Even though there are issues with microgravity 3D printing, the agency said using regolith as a 3D printing material could have benefits here on Earth.
âSuch technology could potentially be used to build habitats, landing pads and other structures for future exploration missions using materials on site,â NASA said, ârather than having to bring all the raw materials for such a construction “.
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It covers the spatial aspect. Regarding life on land, the agency says the possibility of using materials on site could help “development of infrastructure to improve the quality of life in remote and undeveloped areas and emergency construction on the site. place during a response to a natural disaster “.
Universe Today says NASA will take Project RRP one step at a time. The first step is to determine if the regolith is viable for 3D printing; then the agency would subject the resulting objects to numerous tests to determine whether they meet the standards of the American Society for Testing and Materials.