International Space Station To Get Its Own 3D Printer | IdeaFeed | Big Think
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International Space Station To Get Its Own 3D Printer

October 2, 2013, 4:15 PM
Shutterstock_3103525

What's the Latest Development?

Astronauts on board the International Space Station will have a new instrument to test out this time next year: NASA has teamed up with Silicon Valley startup Made in Space to create a 3D printer. The toaster-sized printer will work just like its Earthbound counterparts, manufacturing any number of parts and items from spools of plastic. However, it will also be specially designed to withstand not just the demands of life in space -- including microgravity and varying temperatures -- but the trip up there. It's because of those unique environmental stresses that NASA decided to sidestep existing machines -- ranging from $300 to $500,000 -- in favor of creating something new.

What's the Big Idea?

If tests go well, 3D printing could be a game-changer for future space missions, says Made in Space CEO Aaron Kemmer: "Imagine an astronaut needing to make a life-or-death repair...Rather than hoping that the necessary parts and tools are on the station already, what if the parts could be 3D printed when they needed them?" The development team noted that the technical malfunction that caused the abort of the 1970 Apollo 13 mission would have been fixed in minutes had 3D printing been available.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at Phys.org

 

International Space Station...

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What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close

International Space Station To Get Its Own 3D Printer

October 2, 2013, 4:15 PM
Shutterstock_3103525

What's the Latest Development?

Astronauts on board the International Space Station will have a new instrument to test out this time next year: NASA has teamed up with Silicon Valley startup Made in Space to create a 3D printer. The toaster-sized printer will work just like its Earthbound counterparts, manufacturing any number of parts and items from spools of plastic. However, it will also be specially designed to withstand not just the demands of life in space -- including microgravity and varying temperatures -- but the trip up there. It's because of those unique environmental stresses that NASA decided to sidestep existing machines -- ranging from $300 to $500,000 -- in favor of creating something new.

What's the Big Idea?

If tests go well, 3D printing could be a game-changer for future space missions, says Made in Space CEO Aaron Kemmer: "Imagine an astronaut needing to make a life-or-death repair...Rather than hoping that the necessary parts and tools are on the station already, what if the parts could be 3D printed when they needed them?" The development team noted that the technical malfunction that caused the abort of the 1970 Apollo 13 mission would have been fixed in minutes had 3D printing been available.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at Phys.org

 

International Space Station...

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