Nasa sends 3D printer into space

Nasa sent the first 3D printer, among other supplies, to the International Space Station this morning.

Setting off at 6.52 a.m. GMT today (21 September), the Zero-G 3D printer – along with 20 mice and an environmental sensor – is set to arrive on 23 September and will be used to make replacement parts and tools aboard the space station.

Jeff Sheehy, NASA’s senior technologist, said that if it wants to “set up shop” on Mars then it needs to be able to replace equipment more efficiently.

“We really can’t afford to bring everything we need for an indefinite amount of time. We’ll need to get to the point where we can make things that we need as we go.”

Objects printed will also be sent back to Earth in order to test their composition and strengths.

The astronauts intend to develop a recycling process for the printer which will break down excess materials.

Earlier this year, The Drum took a look at the top 10 strangest things to be created by a 3D printer, including a vagina, inflatable flowers and Keanu Reaves.

Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis

Join us, it’s free.

Want to read this article and others just like it? All you need to do is become a member of The Drum. Basic membership is quick, free and you will be able to receive daily news updates.