There is a lot of curiosity among people to know about space. According to NASA there are millions of galaxies in the space and we are part of one galaxy called the milkyway. It is been said that earth is not the only living planet. There is a high possibility that are similar planets in other galaxies where life exists. NASA has been carrying out space explorations over the past decades in search of living planets.There is one mission which NASA is more curious about is the exploration of MARS.
Exploration of Mars has been a goal of national space programs for decades. To date, most human plans have been scientific expeditions in which small groups of 2 to 8 scientists goes to Mars foe something like a few weeks or year, and then returns to Earth.In the 2010s, numerous American, European, and Chinese agencies were developing proposals for human missions to Mars.They are now developing and testing the technologies.
3D printing technology is being explored in various applications. Over the past few years it’s usage has grown at an alarming rate. Scientist in Space research centers are finding application of this cutting edge technology in Space. If scientist could print stuffs in space it could revolutionize space exploration.
There are two different benefits and two different applications of 3D printing in space.
3D printing inside of the station and outside of the station. Inside of the station it will be helpful in daily life of scientist while orbiting the space. For example, when something is broken and they want to replace a part, it can be very expensive and time consuming to send it to space rather it would be much efficient to print it in space. Regarding additice technology outside station, it would simplify logistics. A 3D printer working in orbit would allow to create satellite structures. New satellite could be built directly in space.
Currently used PLA and PVA material are not compatible with the space atmosphere. Space scientist are using new types of plastics made of polyetherimide/polycarbonate, known as PEI/PC. It is actually several times stronger than the traditional plastic printed inside of the International Space Station.Polyetherimide and polycarbonate are two different thermoplastics, mostly used in engineering.These are very resistant plastics and they are easy to model, which is particularly good for 3D printing, to create the shapes that you need with a great precision. Also, these materials have a great thermostability and a good resilience, perfect to experience the space conditions. On May 26, 2017, a rocket which was launched from from New Zealand was powered by a 3D printed rocket engine.
Mars pioneers could 3D print a human colony on Mars. A team of scientist is developing a plan to use 3D printing to build locally made houses and food on the Martian surface. These resources would support the lives of people leaving the confines of Earth for the Red Planet. Once constraint is availability of raw materials. The only resource available is dust. The Martian dust is made up of rounder, less irregular particles.The team developed a process that combines simulated lunar and Martian dust with solvents and a biopolymer to create these extraterrestrial inks. The inks were then 3D printed into different shapes using an extruder. In the end, the objects — which were composed of about 90 percent dust — were tough and flexible, and could withstand the rolling, cutting and folding needed to print almost any 3D shape,
With new researches and development across the world, more people will be aware of this technology which in near future may even help in replacing traditional manufacturing machines and methods.