3D Printing In Space: 21st Century Space Manufacturing and Technology
The rise of 3D printing technology is not confined to Earth. Private companies, NASA and other groups are quickly developing new concepts to launch 3D printing into the final frontier. See the latest news, videos and photos of 3D printing in space here.
On Friday (Feb. 10), a 3D printer aboard the International Space Station created a sculpture that represents human laughter — the first significant piece of art ever to be produced off Earth, project representatives said.
For the first time, cardiac and vascular structures were 3D printed in a microgravity environment using adult human stem cells. Three companies led by NASA contractor Techshot Inc. developed a "space hardened 3D bioprinter" prototype.
The Additive Manufacturing Facility (AMF), which was installed aboard the International Space Station in late April, printed out its first tool last week — a wrench that astronauts can use to perform light maintenance work.
California-based company Made In Space is investigating how to turn asteroids into giant autonomous spacecraft, as part of a long-term plan to enable space colonization by helping make off-Earth manufacturing economically viable.