Using 3D Printing to Conquer Outer Space

20. Everyone has heard about the Space Race inth century. The war between the Soviet Union ended in 1975, but did you know that a new space race has broken out? This time around, scientists around the world are working to accomplish a variety of goals, including finding a way to colonize other planets and make it suitable for humans to actually live in outer space. Is. To accomplish this goal, 3D printing is one of the key technologies considered for space colonization, thanks to its adaptability, cost-effectiveness, and ability to use local materials, if we are indeed to other planets. There is an important requirement if you want to go to the bodies. , We took a closer look at some of the many different ways additive manufacturing It is being used to make it possible to live on the moon or other planets of our solar system.

ICON and NASA Create 3D Printed Surface Habitat for Mars

In another project to get closer to the space exploration of the future, NASA turned to the expertise of 3D printing and in particular the well-known 3D printing manufacturing company ICON. In the latest project, which will take a look at the possibilities of creating habitats on other planets, the startup recently announced that it will be 3D printing a simulated Mars surface habitat in collaboration with architecture firm Big-Bjarke Ingels Group, which will Be the first of its kind. nominated Mars Dune Alpha, the estimated 1,700-square-foot structure is being used in NASA’s one-year Mars Mission Analog study to simulate a realistic Mars habitat. As soon as production is complete, the model will be delivered to NASA’s Johnson Space Center, which is located in Houston, Texas.

photo credit: ICON

Life on Mars from 3D Printing?

Since 2014, NASA has been running a competition called the 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge, which aims to envision structures that could be 3D printed in space to support life on a different planet than Earth. One of the award winning projects a few years back was the Marsha project, which developed a concept for 3D-printed houses on Mars. The American company AI Spacefactory is behind these cone-shaped structures of 34 square meters in size. It would rely on resources found on the Red Planet to erect tiny houses, thus freeing itself from the constraints of transporting materials from Earth. Finally, MARSHA is designed with a double-shell system to separate the habitable places from structural constraints caused by temperature changes on Mars.

3D Printing Space

photo credit: AI Spacefactory

3D printed spacesuit to colonize the Red Planet

It’s no secret that many projects are being developed to get to Mars. If it is important to know how to get there, it is equally important to ensure that we can set foot on the planet without dying. That’s why companies like NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) are working on this topic. Keeping this in mind, the Mars One company, which was launched in 2011, has come up with a spacesuit designed using 3D technologies. Thanks to digitization and additive manufacturing, the company has developed a suit fully adapted to the astronauts’ morphology to ensure survival on Mars.

3D Printing Space

photo credit: Mars One

Zebro robots lead the way to colonize Mars

Researchers at Delft University of Technology have found another way to use 3D printing to help build structures on Mars, this time with robots! Delft’s Zebro Swarm Robots Designed to excavate underground living spaces on the Red Planet, using 3D printing to fortify walls with Martian material. Swarms of autonomous robots would act similarly to ants forming a colony, communicating with each other and dividing tasks while digging underground. Scientists expect that it will be more suitable for humans to live underground on Mars because the strong temperature changes present on the planet will be less noticeable. Indeed, ESA has recognized the importance of the project, giving the team a grant to develop it further.

3D Printing Space

Lutein and 3D Printing Structures on the Moon

Like many companies, luyten Specializes in manufacturing additive for space exploration. As part of the Mica project, the Australian 3D printer manufacturer is collaborating with the University of New South Wales (UNSW). The goal of this program is to create structures on the Moon using the Platypus Galacticus 3D Printer. using this technique and from regolith, a lunar material, the company hopes to build structures 12 meters long and 9 meters high. In addition, to identify buildable areas, Luyten plans to send rovers with the Platypus galacticus. Some will be able to assess areas while others will collect regoliths.

photo credit: luyten

3D Bioprinting in Space

Life in space is clearly not always fun; The lack of gravity greatly affects the bones and muscles of astronauts. This is why ESA researchers are working on a 3D bioprinting project to design skin and bone samples. The printing process was reversed to prove that it could be transferred in space under microgravity conditions. If astronauts can keep a 3D bioprinter on their travels, they’ll be able to respond to medical emergencies—in case of burns, for example, the crew can print new skin. In the case of ESA, several skin and bone samples were 3D printed from plasma, methyl cellulose and alginate.

Specimen printed with human skin cells using human blood plasma as the nutrient-rich bio-ink (Photo Credit: ESA – SJM Photography)

Moon Village, the 3D Printed Lunar Base

Today, 3D printers can be used to print all kinds of parts, from cars to homes to organs. The potential of the technology is enormous, and the European Space Agency (ESA) knows it. In collaboration with Russia and China, ESA wants to 3D print a lunar base called “Moon Village”. To achieve this, scientists aim to use lunar material, because transporting material from Earth is very expensive. That is why, for many years, experts in the additive manufacturing and space industry have been working to study the feasibility of the project, which is currently feasible.

moonrise project

In January 2021, a team of researchers from the Technical University of Braunschweig and the Laser Zentrum Hannover (LZH) succeeded in 3D printing regolith for the first time. To perform this experiment, called “Moonrise,” scientists equipped a lunar rover with a laser to melt lunar material and obtain regolith. Once this step was completed, the researchers used the IRAS MIRA3D rover, a lunar vehicle specifically designed to 3D print in space. Thanks to this, the team behind the project claimed to be able to design objects out of regolith. The first, which could open up the field of possible future construction on the Moon.

3D Printing Space

photo credit: LZH

3D Printed Bio-Adhesive Bandaids

As part of a space mission called Cosmic Kiss, in which various tests are carried out by astronauts aboard the ISS, German cosmonaut Mathias Maurer recently tested the use of bioprinted adhesive plaster in space. The ultimate goal of BioPrint FirstAid, as these innovative plasterstrips are called, is to simplify future medical first aid in desolate areas or in extreme conditions. The hand-held, mechanical bio-printer is used to apply it directly to the desired location on the skin, where it immediately prints a plaster-like bandage using a special-bio ink. Because of the printer’s compact size and easy operation, the scientists behind the project see its potential future use in doctors’ practices as well as in space or in complex regions like Earth, such as the Arctic region.

impressions 3d space

lavahive project

We talked about it earlier, in March 2015 NASA launched the 3D Printed Habitat Challenge. And out of 160 entries, one in particular stood out to the jury. Called LavaHive, the concept was developed by the European Astronaut Center and members of the Austrian group Liquifer Systems. Like the Moonrise project, the researchers’ idea was to use regolith as a 3D printing material. Specifically, the LavaHive project consists of an inflatable central dwelling reinforced with walls printed from lunar material. Furthermore, in order to obtain a sufficiently large living space, this inflatable area is connected to three sub-habitats, also 3D printed by a kind of tunnel.

3D Printing Space

photo credit: lavahive

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