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In line with the purpose of the Integrated Space Plan, to assist in understanding, studying, and planning the steps necessary to developing a real permanent presence in space, we want to present important or inspiring milestones. This particular milestone connects many technical threads, and more significantly it provides the all-important existence proof that useful structural parts can be 3D printed from the material of metallic asteroids. This demonstrates that a major element of a space craft or habitat can be made from materials in situ, potentially at a small fraction of the cost of shipping from the ground. This proves the viability not just of space manufacturing but of one form of self-reliance.
Planetary Resources & 3D Systems Reveal First Ever 3D Printed Object From Asteroid Metals
The future of space colonization and industrialization can now be visualized.
Planetary Resources, in collaboration with our partner 3D Systems, have developed the first ever direct metal print from asteroid metals. At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) today in Las Vegas, NV., we unveiled the geometric object on the Engadget stage. (WATCH the full video HERE)
This spacecraft prototype was 3D printed from actual an asteroid that was, pulverized, powdered and processed on the new 3D Systems (NYSE: DDD) ProX DMP 320 metals 3D printer. 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.
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.