Using Martian Soil to 3D Print Objects

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Using Martian Soil to 3D Print Objects

Today, all eyes are on the program NASA’s Artemis and his goal of returning to the Moon and set up a permanent base there. But scientists don’t stop at the Moon when it comes to preparing for the future of space exploration. They are already studying the different methods that will allow astronauts to stay on the planet March.

Recently, a team of scientists led by Amit Bandyopadhyay, professor at the Washington State University School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, demonstrated that was possible to use Martian soil as a 3D printing material. The researchers used simulations of pulverized Martian regolith to conduct their study.


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Credits 123RF.com

According to Bandyopadhyay, in space, 3D printing is essential if you are thinking of carrying out a manned mission. The reason is that not everything can be transported from Earth. If you forget something, it is also not possible to return to get it.

The advantages of 3D printing on Mars

3D printing on Mars offers many advantages. Apart from being able to manufacture the tools we need, 3D printing will also allow us to lower the costs. Indeed, it is not a given to send charges into space. For example, with space shuttles, sending one kilogram of cargo into low orbit cost NASA more than 54,000 euros.

If we consider the trip to Mars, the average distance between Earth and the Red Planet is about 225 million km. The cost to send material to Mars would thus be much higher than to send loads to Mars. International Space Station.

The technique used by scientists

During 3D printing tests, scientists mainly mixed different amounts of Martian regolith simulations with titanium alloy. They also tried to produce a material made of pure regolith simulations.

During the tests, the dry ingredients were heated to a temperature of 2000°C. The molten material was then poured into a 3D printer to be able to form objects of different shapes and sizes. Researchers tested each object for strength and durability.

The results showed that a mixture containing 5% regolith was stronger and harder than the titanium alloy alone. For its part, the pure regolith began to crack after cooling. However, scientists suggest that it could be used as coating of radiation shields.

SOURCE: Space.com

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