NASA Tests 3D Printer to Print Materials in Space

CALIFORNIA, – The Northrop Grumman Cygnus cargo arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) carrying very special equipment on Earth, namely 3D Printer. This equipment uses Moon dust to make a solid material.

NASA is testing a printing system from the company Redwire for use on the Artemis Moon mission. The hope is to use the dusty lunar soil as raw material for printing.

The idea is to use materials available on the Moon to make what is needed instead of having to haul lots of heavy equipment from Earth. Engineers have been considering how to 3D print using lunar regolith for some time and have demonstrated the process on Earth.

But sending a 3D printer into the ISS microgravity environment for testing is a big new step in getting the technology ready for use. The researchers wanted to find out whether printing works without gravity and what the strength of the printed material will be.

The printer works by simulating the moon, which is a man-made chemical compound similar to lunar regolite. Because original samples from the Moon are very valuable and rare, as quoted from Digital Trends.

However, the simulation must be close enough to the original lunar material so that it can be used to test 3D printing hardware. Stimulants are used as raw materials, processed and fed into printers to be printed into useful parts and shapes.

Editor: Dini Listiyani

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