Almost all current lunar exploration relies on imaging by telescope and satellite. Some of the moon’s most intriguing features, however, may be under its surface. How do you explore deeper when your only tool is remote imaging? You invent a technology that peeks around the edges of lunar craters to glimpse what lies underneath. That technology is coming to NASA.
Between the end of the Space Shuttle program and the US budget sequester, it might look like NASA is scaling down. The space agency is making ambitious strides, however, in at least one technology – 3D printing. Along the way, the effect may be to revamp how we design big things and how we get those things running in space.
NASA thinks that 3D printing technology could transform space operations of the near and far future, and they’re
backing that belief with money. NASA just awarded a $500,000 contract to Tethers Unlimited (TUI) to demonstrate a robot-operated 3D printing system – SpiderFab – that could build large structures in orbit.