There won’t be all the variety of natural resources on Mars that we’re used to relying on Earth, and astronauts who will try to colonize or just visit the Red planet will be able to take with them just a little Luggage. At the same time, our knowledge of what Mars is made of is limited by data from the Spirit and opportunity Mars Rovers, who studied samples on site, as well as studies of Martian meteorites that hit the Earth. However, on Mars there is something, what on the moon, too, in abundance: dust.
And the latest developments of the European space Agency show that this dust can be used to create parts using 3D printing.
Dusty Mars exploration
Working together with the Australian company Lithoz, ESA printed various parts using a light-sensitive binding agent mixed with regolith, which itself is made from silicon, aluminum, calcium and iron oxides crushed to 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.
The parts are then baked in an 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 to thoroughly test the strength and durability of these 3D printed parts to determine whether they will be able to withstand the rigors of space travel and life in space. After all, instead of carrying an entire cart full of spare parts, a manned mission to Mars just has to bring along a digital archive of all the parts used on the ship and other structures, 3D printing, and a basket to collect local soil.
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