Printed the world’s first 3D object of unearthly material

Made of a meteorite

The company 3D Systems has presented at CES 2016 a unique exhibit – the world’s first object printed on a 3D printer of non-terrestrial material. To create it, we had to grind a fragment of a metal meteorite found in Argentina.

In the future such technology will allow to build a colony on Mars or other planets from materials found on the surface.

A whimsical 3D object is a reduced prototype of the Arkyd spacecraft, currently in the testing phase. According to Marketing Director Kathy Lewis, in order to make “ink” in the beginning, a part of the meteorite was evaporated with the help of plasma, after which a powder was removed from the vapor in a vacuum.

Meteorite

The method of layer-by-layer printing was carried out on an industrial printer ProX DMP. The next stage will be experiments on the use of this technology in microgravity.

Printer ProX DMD

It is not excluded that soon the law on mining of minerals outside the Earth will be adopted in the USA. Some experts are already openly talking about the future space “gold rush.”

The sources of treasure in the first place may be some of the 1500 asteroids that are from Earth within the reach of spacecraft. According to scientists, about 10% of them contain valuable mineral resources. The first reconnaissance missions will start as early as next year, and extraction of minerals can begin in just 5 years.

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