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

News and Insight

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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Using aerospace 3d printing to build structures in space

By Staff Writter

Using aerospace 3d printing to build structures in space

Engineering

Space.com has recently reported that NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts project has given a $100,000 grant to a project called “SpiderFab” to explore aerospace 3d printing to build large structures in space including spacecraft, space stations, and other things using locally available materials. The study is trying to ascertain whether such a process makes business and fiscal sense.

When NASA, a commercial company, or some other national space program wants to operate something in space such as a spacecraft, space station, or some other structure such as a space telescope, it has to be launched from Earth. Parts of such things have to fit inside a rocket and thus have limitations on what size and shape they are.

However if one were to capture a source of material, such as an asteroid or space junk, and use it to build things in space, everything changes. There are no longer any limitations on how big a structure is or their shape. Moreover since what is being built does not have to stand up to Earth’s gravity or the stresses of a launch, even more restrictions are lifted.

One possible project would be to build a radio telescope in space the size of the ARICEBO facility in Puerto Rico, which happens to be 1,000 feet in diameter. An in space telescope of this size would be able to conduct observations of the universe in far greater detail and depth than has hitherto been possible. Farther into the future, a spacecraft could take a 3d printer to another world, even another star system, and then build sensor arrays and communication dishes that would allow detailed signals to be sent back to Earth.

In other words, with 3d printing, almost everything is possible, given availability of materials and human ingenuity.