Social Media Sidebar


Please sign up, comment on articles and bring your friends!

Current poll

PlanetTech is asking:

What do you think about our new web site?

Love it, indeed
Really good solution
Same as old one
The old one was better
This is a new option

Quote of the day

'By far the greatest danger of Artificial Intelligence is that people conclude too early that they understand it'


Eliezer Yudkowsky

Nasa wants to 3d print habitats with metal extracted from martian soil

Posted in Science on 25th Feb, 2017 04:20 PM by Alex Muller

NASA wants to send a manned mission to Mars in the 2030s. In the meantime, the agency is working to cut costs by lightening its payload as much as possible. To that end, scientists are studying the various ways to make goods on Mars rather than carry materials there.


The agency teamed up with University of Central Florida (UCF) professor Sudipta Seal to study Martian soil (regolith) and, hopefully, devise a way to extract metals that could then be used to 3D print a human habitat.
“The regolith on any rocky planet is composed of metal oxides,” Kevin Grossman, a UCF graduate student and NASA intern working on the project, told Digital Trends, “and by electrolyzing them, we can essentially convert dirt into pure metal and oxygen.”
Known as molten regolith electrolysis, the process involves melting soil by heating it to almost 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Oppositely charged electrodes on either side of the molten matter then separate the metals from oxygen as each material is pulled toward its preferred electrode.
“Both of these materials are imperative to the colonization of Mars or the moon,” Grossman said. “Oxygen is important for a variety of reasons, the most obvious being that humans like to breathe. The less obvious application for oxygen is as the oxidizer for the propellant needed for said humans to return to Earth.
“This project is focusing on the metal being 3D printed into structural components or small tools,” Grossman continued. “However, future projects may focus on refining the alloy products into base metals such as pure silicon, which will enable the production of electronic components in space.”
Through this research, NASA hopes to promote massless exploration and “in-situ resource utilization” (ISRU), the principle of living off the land instead of lugging resources through space.
“ISRU is not a new concept,” Grossman said. “It has been understood by every explorer and settler in human history, we’re just doing it on the grandest of scales.”
Much of the cost of space missions depends on the weight of the rocket and the goods it carries. As such, the lighter the launch, the more affordable the mission and the more that can be spent on science. With molten regolith electrolysis, astronauts can leave metals — and even a lot of oxygen — on Earth, instead of using metals extracted from Martian soil to manufacture habitats, tools, and equipment while there.
“The added benefit of additive manufacturing from this project also greatly reduces the need for human labor to start the colonization process,” Grossman said. “We can send robots ahead of us to begin construction of human habitats so our colonists already have a comfortable place to stay. A sort of Chateau de Mars, if you will.”

Tags: MarsspacebiologyNASAchemistryresearch

Read original article » Back to category


Author: Guest
Posted: 2017-02-26
If people are to colonise any planet, the best possible scenario for success would be to use planet's own resources as much as possible and of course 3d printing - bringing things from earth is just not possible Reply


Recent headlines

  • Posted in Business on 2017-03-26 19:56:28
    The U.S. will be hit worse by job automation than more
    Posted in Business on 2017-03-26 19:49:51
    Elon Musk says Tesla will start taking orders for more
    Posted in Science on 2017-03-26 19:39:27
    Impact crater linked to Martian more
    Posted in Software on 2017-03-25 14:13:38
    Google Develops A Deep Learning Machine That Could more
    Posted in Medicine on 2017-03-25 14:26:25
    Google’s Calico partners with new biotech firm more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-10 01:33
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in more
Posted in Business on 2013-10-20 07:17
Spacex says China is their main competitor for more
Posted in Software on 2013-10-20 06:43
Pirate Bay Browser Clocks 1,000,000 more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-10 02:10
Google reportedly investing hundreds of millions into more
Posted in Medicine on 2013-10-14 03:13
Endothelial Cells Can Repair and Regenerate Organs, more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Spacex says China is their main competitor for more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Staring at Your Phone Could Be Making You Short more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Oculus Rift virtual reality headset coming to mobile, more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
China is working towards a manned lunar mission in more
Posted in Science on 01.01.2010
Delivering drugs via nanoparticles to target more

Recent Blog Posts

  • Posted by AlexMuller
    Intensive medical treatment can reverse type 2 more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Daily consumption of tea protects the elderly from more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    New analysis method of metabolites accurately predicts more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Unproven stem cell 'therapy' blinds three patients at more
    Posted by AlexMuller
    Indigenous South American group has healthiest arteries of more

Login to your Account

Login to your PlanetTech Account here

Remember me

Create a New Account

You just need username and password

The following errors occured:
Verify password:
Remember me