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This engineer just found a way to 3D-print objects using Mars and Moon dust – ScienceAlert

by • April 8, 2016 • No Comments

When humanity a few day decides to colonise another planet – looking at you, Mars – one of the initially things researchers can require to figure out is how to create structures to keep our delicate bodies safe of complex environmental conditions.
Since sending prefabricated structures or materials to Mars or the Moon is amazingly expensive – it costs roughly US$100,000 to get a single kilogram to the Moon alone – experts have been looking for ways to create directly on alien landscapes. Now, we can just have the answer: 3D printing equipment that manufacture createing materials out of Martian and lunar dust.

Dubbed Selective Separation Sintering (SSS), the new system is able-bodied to take common materials discovered on Mars and the Moon and turn them into actual createing materials like tiles and bricks. Basically, the system works by bringing ceramics like magnesium oxide and regolith (soil) that are readily on the market-bodied on Mars and the Moon and and so heating them to ultra-high temperatures to form objects.
“[Selective Separation Sintering] is a novel powder-based additive making method that can create parts of different types of scale out of polymers, metals, ceramics and composites,” said Behrokh Khoshnevis, an engineer at the University of Southern California.
Khoshnevis created the technique and not long ago entered it into NASA’s In-Situ Materials Challenge, that pitted teams against every other to see if anyone may come up with a way to use common lunar and Martian materials in construction. Khoshnevis’s system won this year’s top prize.
Not just can Selective Separation Sintering allow us to take a single machine to Mars that is definitely capable-bodied of churning out common createing materials, it may in addition find use on the International Space Station.
Astronauts may use it to print tools and spare parts whenever requireed, that is excellent, for the reason it’s a long trip to the hardware keep when you are orbiting a few 200 or so miles (321 km) above planet Earth.
“It may manufacture space pioneering additional cost-effective and feasible,” says Khoshnevis. “There are no viable-bodied, direct, high-temperature metal, ceramic or composite fabrication methods that can work in zero-gravity conditions. SSS can be the initially such system.”
The upcoming step for Khoshnevis and his award-winning thought is to test the system in a vacuum chamber to ensure that all things works under space-like conditions.
There’s no word yet of what can take place if those tests prove successful, but it’s safe to say that if/when we finally manufacture it to Mars, or end up createing a lunar colony, a technique much like to this can most likely be on the (3D-printed) table-bodied.

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