NASA, SpaceX, and CNSA are working toward sending Astronauts to the red planet before 2040. If humans must explore Mars before the mid of the 21st century, we need to bring along other technologies to sustain humanity on the red planet. However, funding the transportation cost of every item that will be delivered on Mars will actually come with a price. But Space Agencies are looking at taking advantage of 3D printing Technology to ensure that astronauts meet their mission demands on the hostile environment of Mars. A recent study suggests that Mars soil will be used for 3D printing on the red planet.
How Astronauts Will Use Mars Soil for 3D Printing on the red planet
Amit Bandyopadhyay, a professor at the Washington State University School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, and his research team recently conducted several tests using simulated crushed Martian regolith to prove that it had the potential of serving as 3D printing material on Mars. This recent discovery significantly made the future of crewed exploration on Mars to become more interesting than ever.
“In space, 3D printing is something that has to happen if we want to think of a manned mission because we really cannot carry everything from here,” Bandyopadhyay stated. “And if we forgot something, we cannot come back to get it.”
Based on the success of this experience, Martian Astronauts will significantly take advantage of the 3D printing technology to build more tools and exploration materials on Mars. With the possibility of using abundant Mars regolith as 3D printing material, space agencies will reduce their logistics costs for crewed missions to the red planet.
Keep in mind that the average distance between our home planet and Mars is around 140 million miles (225 million km). At this great distance, it will cost every space agency a great amount to transport cargo to the red planet. However, 3D printing technology will reduce this cost drastically.
What can we recreate on Mars using 3D printing Technology?
Several Scientific studies have proven that 3D printing Technology can make building colonies on Mars possible in the near future. On Mars, astronauts can use 3D printers to create the following technologies.
- Mars Domes. Mars is a hostile environment. If we must play safe, we must figure out to build highly protective domes to secure our Astronauts. Space agencies are looking at reaching Mars with inflatable domes. However, with this latest discovery, space agencies may consider building Martian habitats using 3D printers and Mars regolith, as the printing material.
- Working tools. Astronauts will see the need to replace their working tools from time to time. Instead of requesting a new set of tools from Earth, they can use 3d printers to recreate tools to continue exploring the Mars surface.
- Other items. Mars Astronauts will need to print several items to meet their day-to-day operations on Mars. These items can include worn-out machine parts and other technologies.
If we must use 3D printers on Mars, we must master how to use them effectively on Earth first. Currently, many space agencies are experimenting with 3D printing technology to see how they can use it in new space worlds like Mars. Once we master the processes involved in using 3D printers, our astronauts can build the impossible in the future. What do you think about building stuff on Mars using 3D printers?