Where We're Going, We Don't Need Rockets

How We ”Email” Hardware To Space

This is pretty cool. Designing a tool on earth and 3D printing it on the ISS.

On the ISS this type of technology translates to lower costs for experiments, faster design iteration, and a safer, better experience for the crew members, who can use it to replace broken parts or create new tools on demand. But what I’m really excited about is the impact this could have on human space exploration beyond Earth orbit.

When we do set up the first human colonies on the moon, Mars and beyond, we won’t use rockets to bring along everything we need. We’ll build what we need there, when we need it.

That’s pretty much what I thought when I saw the headline. I know that there has been discussion of putting these on ships and boats, so that one can do certain repairs underway without having to carry a lot of different spare parts. If they can be printed, you only have to carry the stock. In space, all of those size and weight pressures are multiplied.