NASA 3D Printing in Space

Next step, the replicator from Star Trek 

NASA, 3d printing, space, zero-g, gravity, star trek, replicator, astronautNASA is showing off its newest toy, a 3D printer built to make objects in space. According to Astronaut Timothy Creamer, “3D printing provides us the ability to do our own Star Trek replication right there on the spot to help us replace things we’ve lost, replace things we’ve broken, or maybe make things that we’ve thought of that could be useful.”

While 3D printing is a little short of Star Trek’s replicator it could come in handy if astronauts ever find themselves in a pinch. Think Apollo 13.

Created by Made in Space, NASA’s new 3D printer design has been verified to be capable of printing in a microgravity environment.  In fact, just a few weeks back, lucky members of the Made in Space team got to experience what it’s like to ride on a micro-g parabolic test flight. During the ups and downs of the trip their printer was proven to work,

In the coming months Made in Space’s 3D printer will be aboard the International Space Station. Once aboard astronauts will be able to print pre-loaded models, or designs uploaded to the printer from mission control.  Check out NASA’s preview of the printer in action:

Images and Video Courtesy of NASA