International Space Station To Get Its Own 3D Printer
Scheduled to arrive late next year for testing, the printer will enable astronauts to make replacement parts quickly and easily, saving money as well as stress.
Kecia Lynn has worked as a technical writer, editor, software developer, arts administrator, summer camp director, and television host. A graduate of Case Western Reserve University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she is currently living in Iowa City and working on her first novel.
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
New research links urban planning and political polarization.
- Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
- Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
- People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
- Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
- Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.
- Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
- What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
- Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.