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2/11/2014
09:20 AM
Elena Malykhina
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NASA Explores 3D Printing: 5 Cool Projects

What can NASA do with 3D printing? Take a look at these pioneering ideas for current and future missions.
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3D on a mission
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center has already taken its first additive-manufactured device into space: a battery-mounting plate used for a sounding rocket mission. The part was created using a material called polyetherketoneketone and was demonstrated during a mission testing a thermal-control device.
(Image: NASA)

3D on a mission
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center has already taken its first additive-manufactured device into space: a battery-mounting plate used for a sounding rocket mission. The part was created using a material called polyetherketoneketone and was demonstrated during a mission testing a thermal-control device.

(Image: NASA)

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anon3823417683
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anon3823417683,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/11/2014 | 2:15:28 PM
Re: materials ?!
ACTUALLY... as 3D printers that are able to get more and more precise are becoming more and more mainstream, that's not entirely unreasonable. Currently the technology isn't readily available to be able to print on a molecular level consistently, but as the technology is refined and becomes more available for studies of new ways to adapt it and make it more exact, it's entirely possible to be able to create designer medications. Imagine medication that was based on your specific DNA and physiology - side effects would be a thing of the past because each formula would be tailored to you specifically, and would be able to account for your unique body chemistry. If you could create a formula molecule by molecule, why couldn't you take 2 molecules of hydrogen and 1 molecule of oxygen and bond them to create water? We've been 3D mapping chemicals for years now. At this point, it's just a matter of being able to build on that small of a scale.
ElenaMalykhina
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ElenaMalykhina,
User Rank: Author
2/11/2014 | 2:11:06 PM
3D food
NASA is also working with Texas-based company Systems and Materials Research Consultancy to explore the possibility of using a 3D printer for making food in space. Naturally, the big concerns with that are safety, acceptability, variety, and nutritional value.
gev
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gev,
User Rank: Moderator
2/11/2014 | 11:59:59 AM
materials ?!
One of the most important part of any tool/spare part is its material. Parts are tested to work with other parts when manutectured out of specified material. Those specifications are vital for everything to be working as designed.

So how come everyone here pretends that materials are irrelevant?

It seems that the next logical step would be to print pills - as long as the tablets come in the right shape and color we'd be ok, right?
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
2/11/2014 | 10:32:35 AM
Re: DIY space probe
On a similar note, what happen when there's an equipment malfunction or something vital breaks in space? You print a replacement part.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
2/11/2014 | 10:31:12 AM
Whole new world
Make your own tools on the spot. What would the Apollo astronauts make of 3D printing in space?
David F. Carr
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David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
2/11/2014 | 10:22:46 AM
DIY space probe
Maybe someday they'll include a 3D Printer on a Mars (or Titan or Io) rover, so it can manufacture its own tools as needed during exploration.

How else could this fit in?
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