Mars will not be the diversity of natural resources on which we rely on Earth, and the astronauts who try to colonize or just to visit the Red planet, will be able to bring only a small Luggage. Thus our knowledge of what Mars is made, is limited to data of the Mars Rovers Spirit and opportunity, who studied the samples in place, and studies of Martian meteorites that fall to Earth. However, on Mars there is something on the moon is also in abundance: dust.
And the latest development of the European space Agency show that the dust it is possible to let the create parts using 3D printing.
The development of dusty Mars
Working together with the Australian company Lithoz, ESA printed a variety of parts using a photosensitive binding agent mixed with regolith, which itself is made of oxides of silicon, aluminum, calcium and iron, shredded into dust. Instead of heating the mixture, ekstrudery it as hot glue, which is subsequently cooled and solidified, the applied technology of 3D printing is laying very thin layers of a mixture of regolith, which are exposed to the light, with the result that the binding agent hardens.
Then the parts are baked in the oven to create a solid, ceramic material that is not only durable, but also smooth on the surface.
The next step for ESA will be a thorough test of the strength and durability of these 3D printed parts to determine if they can withstand the harshness of space travel and life in space conditions. In the end, instead of having to carry a whole cart full of spare parts, a manned mission to Mars should just take a digital archive of all of the parts used on the ship and other structures, 3D printing and a basket for collecting local soil.
Option? Tell us in our chat in Telegram.