Mobile 3D-Printing Robots Could Build Spacecraft In Orbit

3d-printing-space-13D printing still isn’t getting the recognition it deserves, but the advances being made in the field of 3D printing stand to start a new industrial revolution. The scope and possibilities of 3D printing cannot be understated, and it could help mankind embark on a new generation of space exploration with mobile 3D printers building massive spacecraft in orbit.

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that in order to survive, humanity must spread itself across the stars. The last moon landing was decades ago, and the next obvious step is to head for Mars, but the time and resources required for such an undertaking are massive. Beyond Mars, spaceships will have to be self-sufficient, through the use of 3D printers will start a lot closer to home.

Tethers Unlimited, a space manufacturing and assembly company based in the U.S., has released preliminary designs for a massive, mobile 3D printing robot that could help assemble spacecraft in orbit. These spider-like robots could build booms, wings, solar panels, and other critical components on-site, so long as the proper materials are supplied.

By building spacecraft in orbit, we could remove the largest obstacle to space exploration, which is escaping the Earth’s gravity and atmosphere. By printing the necessary components on site, it would also cut down drastically on production costs. 3D printing has the power to transform all sorts of industries, including space and automotive manufacturing. Imagine walking into a car showroom, and having your vehicle “built” on-site a few hours later?

The future is amazing my friends; you just have to open your eyes to see it.

Source: GigaOm | Tethers Unlimited

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.