3D Printing Takes Us One Step Closer to Mars!

NASA scientists test 3D printers for use on the red planet.
Michael Michael (115)
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Imagine

In the new colony, the colonists will be able to 3D print various things that they will need—even homes.

The year is 2060 A.D. The volunteers to go establish the first colony on Mars wave to the TV cameras, and people everywhere cheer. NASA scientists assure the public that everything will just fine, due to the series of outposts set up along the way where our colonists can 3D print any needed materials or supplies. In the new colony, the colonists will be able to 3D print various things that they will need—even homes.

Sound like a science fiction novel?

In all likelihood, that future is due to arrive much sooner than we think.

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3D Printed Space Part

NASA scientists are experimenting with a process known as Additive Manufacturing. Essentially, this means that scientists want to be able to create custom metal parts on the go without the need for a full workshop setup. They also hope that the customization, in terms of ingredients, will allow them to adjust parts for various weather conditions on different planets, like Mars.

See the NASA 3D printer in action:

They have already 3D printed 11 metal parts that they sent aboard the NASA rover, Perserverance, which is scheduled to arrive on Mars in 2021. They're hoping to test these parts as "secondary structures," which will not ruin the whole mission should they not work. You can learn more about the specific parts and structures that they will be testing on Mars, by reading the full NASA article here.

Long term implications

NASA already has plans to establish a permanent human presence on or near the Moon by 2024. The hope is that, should NASA be able to use 3D printers to print...well...just about anything, then it makes the likelihood of launching a Phase 2 mission from the Moon to Mars a reality.

We're going to have to wait and see, of course. But it's definitely a cool time to be alive!

If you want to learn more about 3D printing, check out our 3D Printing FAQs.