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3D printer manufacturer Electronic Alchemy has developed a system capable of additive manufacturing fully functional electronics. Named eForge, NASA intends to use the system during planetary space missions to 3D print chemical sensors on demand. Following the launch of eForge, the company is also now designing a device to recycle 3D printed electronics, further reducing NASA’s need for resupply missions.
Resupply missions to astronauts in low earth orbit (LEO) can take months or even years. For planned missions to the Moon and Mars, resupply missions would take even longer. The ability to 3D print tools in space will allow astronauts to create the items they need on demand, without waiting for costly resupply missions. This is of particular value for mission critical devices and components such as sensors.
Months - NASA - Multisensor - Devices - Space
A few months ago, NASA allotted $2 million to develop 3D printed multisensor devices for space exploration. These sensors can be affixed to rovers and satellites to understand the composition of stars and planets. Nano Dimension, an Israeli electronics 3D printer manufacturer, is developing radio frequency (RF) space systems for NASA’s International Space Station.
Since 2016, Electronic Alchemy has been collaborating with NASA to 3D print electronics in outer space. The partnership first focused on developing filaments and prototypes for the eForge multi-material electronics 3D printer.
NASA - Goddard - Space - Flight - Center
In 2017, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center contracted Electronic Alchemy to 3D print and test low-power graphene-based chemical sensors. In planetary space missions, corrosive gases can cause orbiting spacecrafts to lose altitude prematurely and plunge to Earth. The chemical sensors Electronic Alchemy designed are highly sensitive to these gases, providing fast detection. To produce these sensors on-demand, the center intends to bring eForge onto spacecrafts.
eForge 3D printing...
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