3D Printing With Alien Materials

People who accomplish great things never strive for mediocrity. They set their heights high, and do everything that they can in order to accomplish their goals. These people reach for the stars, which is to say that they aim to do something grand.

Reaching for the stars is a metaphor, but one company is taking this saying seriously in order to do something pretty spectacular. Planetary Resources is a self-dubbed asteroid mining company, and although they aren’t exactly claiming resources from the stars, they are looking to harvest extraterrestrial materials from a practically limitless source of space rocks.

They’re calling it asteroid prospecting. Just like prospectors who headed west into the American frontier in search of valuable metals and resources, Planetary Resources is looking to find valuable resources in asteroids.

Collecting resources from space is undoubtedly pretty cool, but what practical advantages are there?

Using extraterrestrial materials for production and manufacturing is one clear benefit of the process. The company showed that using resources from space is possible by 3D printing a model using metal from an asteroid that had struck the earth in prehistoric times.

Using additive manufacturing to print model parts out of alien metals is neat, but it’s not necessarily revolutionary. This display wasn’t meant to showcase the potential of the company’s efforts, however. It was merely meant to give a sampling of what could be possible through asteroid prospecting.

Another benefit of harvesting materials from asteroids is the sheer quantity of the resources. Metals and many other materials that are used for production and manufacturing are non-renewable, and the earth has a limited supply of resources.

Space could be finite, or it could be infinite, but for practical purposes, the asteroids floating around in space offer an unlimited supply of resources that could be used in manufacturing and other sectors. Collecting these resources could prove to play an important role in the future of manufacturing as well as civilization.