When something breaks in our houses, we go out to the local stores and get the spares, but what if something breaks in the space? Astronauts have to face a lot of problems when something breaks downs in outer space. A 3D printer would be the best option to resolve such problems.
Ever since 2010, a company named Made In Space, Inc., based in California has made constant efforts to develop a 3D printer that can function in zero gravity. In 2011 September, the printer was put to the zero gravity test in order to see if the printer works properly in an environment which would typically be found in the space station. The printer passed the test with flying colors. The printer was scheduled to go into space on 19th September, 2014 aboard a Space X Dragon capsule. The launch of the printer into the space was also broadcasted live on the NASA TV channel. The printer now sits in the International Space Station. In its new home the printer is aiding the scientists to study the long term effects of zero gravity on additive manufacturing process and also to print various spare parts and tools.
Aaron Kemmer, co-founder of Made In Space said, “We’re sending this bad boy off to NASA with wishes of living long and prospering.”
The Zero-G 3D printer uses ABS plastic like most other 3D printers that are selling like hot cakes on the planet. The speed of the printer is 40mm/s.
With the successful creation of the Zero-G 3D printer the company is all geared up for its next mission that is of sending 3D printing robots to Mars or the Moon. The company plans to use the soil of the celestial bodies as printing materials for making future structures!