Girls in STEM

Update: Spotlight School Success

Update: Spotlight School Success

SUCCESS! Since electing Liberty Elementary School as our Spotlight School, we have come to adore the Liberty family more and more each day.  T

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Search articles, videos and updates on 3D Printing and its growing presence in our world

Girls in STEM

WATCH: Ms. Houck's TEACHER FEATURE

WATCH: Ms. Houck's TEACHER FEATURE

This week, we bring you a short video on a STEM'tastic educator! Scroll down to WATCH this educator doing what she does best - teachi

Videos

Cool Vid: 3D Printing for K-12 Education

Cool Vid: 3D Printing for K-12 Education

Watching super cool EDUCATIONAL videos from across the web is one of our favorite pastimes! Join us in learning more about 3D printing in the clas

Science and Math

'Tis the Season for STEM

'Tis the Season for STEM

'Tis the season for GINGERBREAD and working the delicious treat into your family - and CLASSROOM - fun. Last week, as students across the

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What if Apollo 13 had aerospace 3d printing?

By Staff Writter

What if Apollo 13 had aerospace 3d printing?

Science and Math

Space.com interviewed NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman, headed for the International Space Station in May, 2014, Wiseman expressed excitement about using a 3d printer that will be installed on the ISS for testing. NASA is very interested in aerospace 3d printing to enable astronauts to make spare parts and other things that might be needed on space stations or on long term deep space missions.

Wiseman posed an interesting counterfactual question: what if the crew of Apollo 13 had a 3d printer on board?

The flight of Apollo 13 was a mission to the moon that took place in April, 1970. When an oxygen tank exploded midflight, crippling the command and service modules, the three man crew was forced to use the lunar module as a kind of life boat while the spacecraft whipped around the moon and then returned to Earth.

A problem arose because the lunar module was only designed to sustain two crew members for two days and not three crew members for nearly a week. The lunar module’s carbon dioxide scrubbers began to fail, threatening the crew with asphyxiation. The CO2 scrubbers in the command module was of a different design than those in the lunar module. The crew was forced to adapt the command module CO2 scrubber cartridges to the lunar module scrubbers, in effect figuring out how to make square pegs fit in round holes.

With a little ingenuity from Mission Control, the crew of Apollo 13 succeeded with materials at hand and return home safely. Wiseman’s point was that the task would have been far easier and less dramatic in the Ron Howard film if the crew had access to a 3d printer to make custom parts to enable the adaptation. It is in emergencies like Apollo 13 that a 3d printer will really prove its worth.