3D Printing Info has become a tool of education, allowing students to create images of various objects for their own edification. NASA, whose mandate includes educating the public about all things space, has decided to use the new technology to create the files to print a great number of models and other objects related to the exploration of space. The files should work in any average 3D printer.
Models that are available include satellites, space probes, and space craft ranging across the decades of NASA’s existence. They include Mercury and Gemini space capsules, the Apollo lunar module, and various versions of the space shuttle. Robotic space probes include Cassini, currently orbiting Saturn, Dawn, currently approaching the asteroid Ceres, and the LRO, orbiting the moon. Larger structures depicted include the International Space Station, Skylab, Mir, and the Kepler and Hubble space telescopes. The files are a treasure trove for model makers and collectors.
Perhaps of even more interest is the ability to print out the landscapes of other worlds such as the moon, Mars, Europa, Ganymede, Titan, Enceladus, Triton, and Venus. The hobbyist can also print models of asteroids such as Eros and Vesta, recently visited and mapped by NASA space probes.
NASA has embraced the new technology of 3D printing with a will, using to build parts for rocket engines and even exploring how it could be used to create food for astronauts on long space voyages. Now the space agency is using it to engage the public and provide, as never before, a visualization of space and the machines that are being used to explore it.