September 30, 2013, 12:13 PM —
Image credit: Flickr/NASA Goddard Space Flight
It's hard out there in space for a DIYer. No Lowe's, no Home Depot, not even a local hardware store. What happens when you need some spackle to repair a damaged space helmet?
NASA is aware of the potential danger to astronauts from lack of retail commerce in space, so the space agency has decided to send a 3D printer to astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
The printer will be about the size of a microwave oven (note to NASA: The next 3D printer should double as a microwave oven. How convenient would that be?) and will enable astronauts to create spare parts and tools.
That's if the 3D printer is used as intended. What if the astronauts use the 3D printer to create weapons with which to subjugate the Earth? Has anyone at NASA ever read The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress? This stuff can happen.
NASA actually is pretty into 3D as a way to cut mission costs. In late August, the agency announced the successful testing of a 3-D printed rocket engine injector. And NASA is exploring the possibility of settlers on Mars creating their own food using 3D technology.