It's no secret that NASA wants to take 3D printers into space. The technology would be immensely useful to the men and women on the International Space Station as they would be able to quickly repair components with plastic replacements. There is a problem though - how do you 3D print something in a zero gravity environment?
In a video released by NASA, the agency goes into how its experimenting with 3D printers here on earth to ensure that the technology will be able to function in zero gravity environments. Here's what NASA has to say about its latest endeavor:
The goal of 3-D printing is to take this capability to microgravity for use on the International Space Station. In space, whatever astronauts have available on orbit is what they have to use -- but just like on Earth, parts break or get lost. When that happens, there's a wait for replacement parts, or the need to have multiple spares that have to be launched. The ability to conduct 3-D printing in space could change all of that.
NASA plans to launch the first 3D printer into space in June of next year. It will hopefully be the first of many as the space agency plans to use 3D printers in a number of space missions over the next few years and decades. In fact, one of its most ambitious plans is to create a 3D printer that extrudes food to make pizzas for long manned space flights.[h/t: Gizmodo]