First 3D-printed object made of space rock revealed

13 January 2016
By Tereza Pultarova
Mobile version
Share |
The first 3D printed object made of a meteorite

The first 3D printed object made of a meteorite [Credit: Planetary Resources]

An asteroid mining company has unveiled the first 3D-printed object made of material from space.

The palm-sized geometric model, unveiled during CES 2016 in Las Vegas, was made from metal found in a meteorite that had landed on the Earth millions of years ago.

Planetary Resources, the company behind the development, made the model in collaboration with 3D-printing specialist 3D Systems.

“We used their direct metal printer to take this material and print an object,” said Chris Lewicki, the firm’s CEO. “This object came from a meteorite, came from space and this is the manufacturing technology that we will use in space.”

Planetary Resources has plans for mining materials on asteroids to make fuel and parts for rockets. 3D printing, they believe, is essential for establishing a full-blown space economy and the object unveiled at CES 2016 is the first step towards the goal.

“There is an infinite amount of resources in space, there are tens of millions of asteroids,” Lewicki said.

“If you can use materials that you find in space and use it to build things, make the oxygen you need, or even the rocket fuel that goes into your spaceship, this is actually how we are going to push the frontiers in outer space.”

To create the object, the meteorite found near Campo Del Cielo in Argentine, had to be pulverised and powdered to produce material suitable for 3D printing.

Planetary Resources has launched its first satellite this year from the International Space Station with the second one readying for launch this spring. The spacecraft, equipped with an infrared camera, will prospect near-Earth asteroids for usable resources.

Latest Issue

E&T cover image 1605

"We visit Barcelona, one of the smartest cities in the world, to find out what makes it so special. What does it look like and what is the future?"

E&T jobs

  • Senior Development Engineer, Electronics

    Premium job

    Helmet Integrated Systems / Gentex Corporation
    • Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire
    • Competitive

    We are an innovative, robust and fast growing business, whose main focus is to deliver continues improvement to existing products and offer new sol..

    • Recruiter: Helmet Integrated Systems / Gentex Corporation

    Apply for this job

  • Smart Grid Research Engineer

    Premium job

    University of Strathclyde
    • Cumbernauld, Glasgow
    • Grade: 6/7* £26,537 - £37,768*

    Work as part of a growing dynamic team on a wide range of technical projects with particular emphasis on experimental validation and testing

    • Recruiter: University of Strathclyde

    Apply for this job

  • Electrical Asset Specialist

    Affinity Water
    • Hatfield, Hertfordshire

    Responsible for updating and writing electrical engineering standards, approved codes of practice and safe systems of work

    • Recruiter: Affinity Water

    Apply for this job

  • Senior Electronics Engineer

    York Instruments
    • York, North Yorkshire

    Senior electronics engineer to work as part of a team developing an MEG imaging system; working with the engineering team and external contractors.

    • Recruiter: York Instruments

    Apply for this job

  • Manufacturing Engineer - Circuit Card Assembly

    MBDA
    • Lostock Junction
    • Competitive Salary & Benefits

    What’s the opportunity?   Manufacturing UK is an integral part of the Operations Directorate whose principal mission is to ensure that MBDA’s deliverable commitments are met...

    • Recruiter: MBDA

    Apply for this job

  • High Voltage Engineer

    Premium job

    Essex X-Ray & Medical Equipment
    • Great Dunmow, Essex

    This High Voltage Engineer will provide design leadership for high voltage cable assemblies up to one megavolt.

    • Recruiter: Essex X-Ray & Medical Equipment

    Apply for this job

  • Team Leader - Flank Arrays

    BAE Systems
    • Barrow-In-Furness, Cumbria, England
    • Negotiable

    Team Leader - Flank Arrays Would you like to work in a unique role within the construction of the Astute Class submarines? We currently have a vacancy for a Team Leader - Flank Arrays at our site in Barrow-in-Furness. As a Team Leader - Flank Arrays, you

    • Recruiter: BAE Systems

    Apply for this job

  • Electronics and Software Engineer

    Copley Scientific Ltd
    • Nottingham
    • circa £35,000 per annum + bonus

    Develop new test equipment for the pharmaceutical industry. Good opportunities to grow and develop. Successful family-owned and managed business.

    • Recruiter: Copley Scientific Ltd

    Apply for this job

  • Intelligent Transport Systems Engineer - Highways Technology

    Premium job

    Mott MacDonald
    • Birmingham, West Midlands

    Our transport technology team in Birmingham is currently growing a highly skilled and customer-focused team to...

    • Recruiter: Mott MacDonald

    Apply for this job

  • Analogue Electronics Engineer

    Premium job

    Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF)
    • Uppsala (Stad) (SE)

    The Swedish Institute of Space Institute (IRF) in Uppsala search for an analogue electronics engineer.

    • Recruiter: Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF)

    Apply for this job

More jobs ▶

Subscribe

Choose the way you would like to access the latest news and developments in your field.

Subscribe to E&T