A Science Fiction Dream Coming True?
Copper3D, A Chilean 3D Printing Filament Start-up, and the Internation Space Station (ISS) have gone into, what seems like a sci-fi dream, collaboration with one another. NASA recently showed a massive interest in Copper3D’s “Antibacterial 3D Printing Filament” – PLACTIVE for use on the ISS. This is for the obvious need of keeping bacteria and immune system dysregulation away from astronauts as they use this amazing technology in space!
3D Printing has its obvious benefits down here on Earth, but as the times move on and our journey through the great cosmos continues, we’ll need to bring this disruptive technology to space to help improve our astronauts life, and to complete their missions in a more cost / time efficient way, and of course staying safe!
The use of this technology means that simple tools such as wrenches can be easily produce on board, rather than being carried on the ship, which would increase the weight of the ship, which in return can reduce fuel costs. But cost isn’t the only thing they are saving, we could eventually save lives! There is talk that bioprinting and 3D printing could go hand in hand to help us colonise planets such as Mars…and beyond!
However, No matter what type of 3D printing is happening, it has come to the attention of NASA that astronauts may need to avoid dangerous microbes while creating parts.As innovative as they may be. In some cases, microbes may even be altered from their typical state when grown during flight. This could pose dangers to human immune systems, as well as causing a higher risk of infectious disease during space-flight. Scary stuff.
Here’s what Dr. Claudio Soto, Medical Director of Copper3D, had to say
“It is an entity that is recently being studied and that could put long-term space missions at risk, for example those that are expected to be made in the future on Mars. What is known so far is that there could be a sum of factors behind this problem…To these factors we can add others, for example, studies have demonstrated that the methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus strain shows enhanced antibiotic resistance in microgravity-analogue conditions suggesting potential alterations in antibiotic efficacy during spaceflights. Thus, there is a critical need for preventive countermeasures to mitigate microbial risks during space flight missions.”
Copper3D’s speciality in antimicrobial 3D printing, accompanied by NASA’s growing interest in the matter, could be vital to the future health of everyone travelling—or eventually living—in space.
Daniel Martinez, Director of Innovation and CMO of Copper3D, added
“This new technology, based on a patented additive with copper nanostructures and other carriers/controller elements, can have a very positive impact on the new challenges faced by NASA facing the long-term space missions and this specific problem with the Immune System Dysregulation. Imagine the impact that this new generation of 3D printed objects can have on the early treatment of complex wounds, on avoiding infections of all kinds or in a whole new generation of active/antimicrobial medical devices.”
So, will we be seeing fully 3D printed cities on Mars like some sort of Dystopian Sci-fi movie or Cowboy Bebop episode? Probably not anytime soon. However, with this breakthrough in technology, the possibilities of space have been opened even more which can only lead to more positive advancements in technology, 3D Printing and Humanity!