- John Findlay
The next manufacturing evolution and how we can use it to get to Mars and beyond.
How we get to Mars
There are of course a many factors that make a mission to Mars a difficult undertaking.
I will present the following problems that my idea addresses.
1) Creating a big enough space craft to carry a crew plus food supplies and other equipment.
2) Space craft size restrictions based on existing launch vehicle capacity.
3) Building space craft components rugged enough to withstand launch trauma.
I am of the belief that an existing technology can overcome at least these obstacles and allow greater flexibility to address the many other obstacles as they present themselves.
It could be said that current 3D printing is in its infancy, my belief is that the key is within the materials that a 3D printer can use like carbon, silicon, etc ,etc. Being able to actually print space craft in space with many of its electronic systems incorporated into the skin and structure of the craft as well as shielding etc.
Satellite 3D Printing factories
3D printers could first be tethered to the International Space Station. These printers are then fed raw materials ferried to the space station by existing rockets.
1) There is potentially no limit to the size of the spacecraft, if required the spacecraft could in theory be kilometers in size.
2) Because many of the electronic systems are actually built into the structure there is far more crew space.
3) Having systems built into the craft allows more room for built in redundancy by multiplying the same systems throughout the craft.
4) Habitats could be constructed on Mars surface prior to landing by sending 3D printers to Mars in advance followed by raw material supplies.
5) Potentially any existing rocket designed to carry a payload could be used for supplying the printers.
6) Once en route to Mars and on the surface crews will be able to create things as required possibly even being able to recycle existing 3D parts that are no longer used.
The possibilities are endless.