3-D printers, a machine that sounds like something right out of a sci-fi book but they’re here on earth and perhaps one day, in space. Imagine astronauts not having to load tools and spare parts in a already cramped shuttle.
The printers are of infinite designs, creating objects by extruding layer upon layer of plastic. Doctors use them to make replacement joints and artists use them to build jewelry.
Engineers at NASA are 3-D printing small satellites that would shoot out of the Space Station and transmit data to earth, as well as replacement parts and rocket pieces that can survive extreme temperatures.
"If you want to be adaptable, you have to be able to design and manufacture on the fly, and that's where 3-D printing in space comes in," said Dave Korsmeyer, director of engineering at NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, about 35 miles south of San Francisco.
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