Lulzbot, a 3D printer manufactured by Aleph Objects Inc., may one day find itself on Mars. On November 14th, Lulzbot announced their sponsorship of the Mars One Project, a private organization determined to setup a Martian colony by 2023.
A statement on the Lulzbot blog described the relationship, “We are proud to partner with the Mars One project, and one day we hope to send a LulzBot printer to the red planet. Founded upon the philosophy of a free exchange of ideas and technology, we share the same perspective as those on the Mars One project, that it is up to us to inspire future generations to believe all things are possible. From printing plastic parts to working with wood, metal and even advanced materials such as living cells, the future is bright. It is through the determined effort to push the boundary of this cutting edge industry that we will make history, together.”
After having looked at the Mars One website, I found myself intrigued. I’m not sure if the project will work, and I think the groups funding method is a bit dubious, but hey, I’m willing to play along. To get a sense of what I’m talking about, take a look at the Mars One introduction film below.
Getting men and women to Mars would be an amazing achievement. Colonizing the planet would be even more fantastic and while the Mars One Project might be a huge farce, one thing about the project does ring true. When we do finally begin colonizing the Moon, Mars or bodies beyond our solar system, a ready-made manufacturing technology will be needed to support the colonies objectives. In their current state, 3D Printers like the Lulzbot will not be adequate for the task. However, as the technology matures more useful materials and prints that surpass the fidelity of prototypes will come along. Those 3D Printers will be the machines that travel with the explorers of the future, but Lulzbot has the right idea.
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