An asteroid mining company known as Planetary Resources wants to give the world a glimpse of their vision of the future. Aiming to extract water and other useful materials from asteroids, the company has 3D printed an object using the metal powder from space rocks. This object is the first part ever to be 3D printed with materials from outer space, reminiscent of a design that could originate from a 3D printer in the zero gravity environment of space. Sourced from the Campo Del Cielo near Argentina the asteroid used for the printed materials is composed of iron, nickel and cobalt. However, Planetary Resources isn’t the only entity that is viewing 3D printing as a key technology in the spaceflight arena going forward.
NASA Officials have said that 3D printing could help open up the solar system for human exploration by making voyage spaceships and off earth outposts for less dependence on their home planet for supplies or spare parts. The space agency has recently teamed up with the California based startup (Made in Space) placing a 3D printer in the international space station, to see how well the technology function in microgravity. Planetary Resources asteroid mining ambitions will begin with water, which is planetary plan to spit into its constituent hydrogen and oxygen, the chief components to rocket fuel. If all goes according to plan, this propellant will be sold from in-space gas stations allowing spaceships to fuel up their tanks on the go within the next 10 years. You can see Planetory Resources latest project in the video below.