Apr 13, 2017 02:18 PM EDT
In a recent innovative effort, an attempt to print 3D images of certain materials present on other planets and satellites has been introduced by scientists. According to them, this technology is going to be very helpful in the outer space, where resources are limited and people would have to make do with whatever is available.
In a report by Phys.org, the 3D printing technology is partially supported by Google. In a research conducted recently, scientists use NASA-approved simulations of lunar and Martian dust to create the 3D paint mimicking the lunar and Martian conditions. The structures were created using a range of simple solvents and biopolymers, which were 3D printed using a simple extrusion process. The structures that have been created are over 90 percent dust by weight.
Reportedly, although being made out of rigid micro rocks, the 3D material appears to be flexible in nature. It is elastic and tough just like rubber. In fact, this is the first time any material of this type has been used to create lunar and Martian simulations. The material can be cut, rolled, folded and shaped according to the will of the user.
According to Space.com, certain private companies have been experimenting with 3D printing in metals, which can lead to the creation of rocket engine parts in a quicker and cheaper way than the conventional methods. A 3D machine has the ability to build parts in microgravity environments -either in the earth's orbit or on a trip to Mars.
Experts opine that 3D printing in space needs the right type of materials to be kept handy and in proper quantity. With increasing number of versatile materials and machinery at their disposal, it is not anymore a necessity to stock basic materials for 3D printing. Replacement parts can also be available easily, which makes it easier to manufacture the 3D printer.
Some experts are concerned about the fact that widespread 3D printing can lead to total anarchy in the market. However, they are also hopeful that the market can eventually come up with certain solutions that can be faced by the 3D printing industry in the future.
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