Space & the Supply Chain

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Susan Fourtané
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Solar power
Susan Fourtané   7/27/2014 7:18:10 AM
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As solar power is becoming more common on Earth it makes sense that by the time all these projects are sent to space there will also be a plan for solar powered 3D printer and other needed equipment.

-Susan

Ariella
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Re: Will the Tools created with 3D Printing Be Robust and be able to withstand the Rigours of Space?
Ariella   7/26/2014 10:18:11 PM
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@TaimoorZ As you see the plan set up by MIT doesn't depend on 3D printing supplies on demand.  As a replicator on par with what we saw in Star Trek is still in the realm of science fiction, NASA is not banking on 3D printing whatever the astronauts will need. It is something that could help in future, as it would allow astronauts a way to produce certain things on demand that they may not have anticipated needing. The experiement of 3D printing in space is still in early stages. But as 3D printing itself has already proven to be a way to increase efficiency and achieve certain designs using less material and less weight -- the way GE produces titanium jet parts -- NASA can use 3D printing in manufacturing some equipment on earth ahead of launch.

Ariella
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Re: Why not use for earth too?
Ariella   7/26/2014 10:12:26 PM
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@Adeniji, What can I say, great minds share the same thought about solar power. :D Yes, it is the human condition to want to explore and as technology makes extended space exploration feasible, it's certain to happen. 

Ariella
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Re: Potential Issues
Ariella   7/26/2014 10:10:31 PM
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@Taimoor excellent question. It's something that also applies to extended space travel in general. Perhaps there are ways to harvest solar power the way some satellites do, but I'd have to check to ascertain if there is such a plan in place. 

Ariella
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Re: Will the Tools created with 3D Printing Be Robust and be able to withstand the Rigours of Space?
Ariella   7/26/2014 10:09:15 PM
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@Ashish I'm working on another blog (not for this board) that focuses on 3D printing in space. You're right that we're not there yet. There have been experiements on earth, and the next step is to actually bring the printer into space, something that is scheduled to happen in the very near future. I don't want to give away too many spoilers.

TaimoorZ
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Re: Potential Issues
TaimoorZ   7/26/2014 8:20:59 PM
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@Adeniji: I don't think solar power can purely be relied on. It may require some form of a backup power generation medium.

TaimoorZ
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Re: Will the Tools created with 3D Printing Be Robust and be able to withstand the Rigours of Space?
TaimoorZ   7/26/2014 7:55:56 PM
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@Ashish: I agree with you on this aspect. The room for error is very negligible when it comes to a 3D printing machine in space that has to produce everything the astronauts need. I think you do need some backup option in this case, particularly when the technology is not very mature yet.

Adeniji Kayode
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Re: Potential Issues
Adeniji Kayode   7/26/2014 3:18:49 PM
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Obviously, the printer would be solar powered.

Adeniji Kayode
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Re: Why not use for earth too?
Adeniji Kayode   7/26/2014 3:15:21 PM
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Well, while there are still more to be discovered on earth and about earth, I think the earth is congested already. Its in man's nature to explore and the space is the next.

TaimoorZ
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Supply Network Guru
Potential Issues
TaimoorZ   7/26/2014 1:17:23 PM
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Theoretically it seems like a novel idea and something that would indeed solve major problems for astronauts. However, I think there will also be potential issues surrounding it. One of the issues I can think of would be related to power consumption and how to ensure that the printer is efficient in terms of consuming the power and, if possible, generating it on its own.

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