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3D PRINTING FROM SPACE ROCKS

posted 07 February 2016 at 19:33:02



A company that mines asteroids has given the world a glimpse of its vision of the future. Planetary Resources, which attempts to extract water and other useful materials from asteroids, has 3D printed an object using metal powder taken from a space rock.

 "It is the first part ever 3D printed with material from outer space and is reminiscent of a design that could originate from a 3D printer in the zero-gravity environment of space," Planetary Resources blogged from its base in Redmond, Washington, USA. The object is about 2.5cm x 8.7cm and weighs 250 grams and, says the company, means that "the future of space colonization and industrialization can now be visualized."

This spacecraft prototype was 3D printed from an asteroid that was pulverized, powdered and processed on a 3D Systems (NYSE: DDD) ProX DMP 320 metals 3D printer. It is believed to be the first item ever 3D printed using material from outer space and the design looks like something that could originate from a 3D printer in the zero-gravity environment of space.

The asteroid (or meteorite) used for the print materials was sourced from the Campo Del Cielo impact near Argentina, and is composed of iron, nickel and cobalt – similar materials to refinery-grade steel.

Image: © Planetary Resources/3D Systems