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Students’ 3D-printed fungarium and Martian mini-farm win NASA ‘Star Trek Replicator Challenge’ – TechCrunch

by • July 4, 2016 • No Comments

NASA believes the children are our next. Why else may it ask them for ideas of how to feed astronauts in 2050? The nationwide “Star Trek Replicator” contest that began in February has spawned hundreds of 3D printable ideas, and the winners have only been announced: a housing for radiation-loving fungi and a tiny farm for Martian pioneers.
The challenge was to “design a non-edible, food related object for astronauts to 3D print in the year 2050,” fitting in a 6″ cube, single feedstock, and no crazy sci-fi stuff either. Kids in addition had to consider the limitations of microgravity on printing — NASA is not messing around here.
405 submissions of 30 states were evaluated by a panel of judges of NASA, Made in Space, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. The winners are remarkably sophisticated.
nasa replicator 2
Kyle Corrette, of Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, created a fungarium (yes, that’s a word, and I must say a great one) created to hold “melanized” fungi, that uses ionizing radiation (that’s the bad kind) for energy, pretty like how plants use sunlight. This enclosure may preserve and irrigate the fungi expanding on the three rods while yet exposing them to nutritious cosmic radiation. The three-sided part on the left there detaches and fits over the growth area.

nasa replicator

Related ArticlesBjörk can wear 3D-printed masks in next shows for the reason BjörkXYZprinting’s new 3D printing device is created for the classroomThe next of 3D-printed prostheticsEagle Ridge Middle School’s Sreyesh Sola created a pint-size “Astro mini farm” for use on Mars. A lens is printed right on top to gather and concentrate the meager sunlight that graces the Martian surface. A pump keeps atmospheric pressure at of 1/10th of Earth’s, only adequate to let plants grow (a valve practuallyts it of getting too high). The silica needed to print it may actually be harvested of the soil on Mars, Sola suggested.
Six other projects were finalists, which include a clever mug, a tiny zero-G hydroponic setup and two Spirulina farms. All (which include the winners) can obtain a Makerbot Replicator Mini for their school and a PancakeBot for home. In addition, the two winners get to visit New York for a tour of Space Shuttle Enterprise with retired astronaut Mike Massimino.Featured Image: NASA

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