Earlier this summer, we told you about NASA's plans to send a 3-D printer aboard the International Space Station next year. In the video here, NASA officials explain why that's a huge deal.
A considerable amount of storage space on flights goes to odds and ends that can break or go missing (which means replacement parts need to be sent up on the next trip). A 3-D printer would let astronauts only print the stuff they need, when they need it. What kind of stuff? Well, anything, really. The agency explains that an on-board 3-D printer could be loaded with blueprints at takeoff, but could also have plans beamed from Earth to the Space Station.
3-D printing space hardware company Made In Space is designing a special printer for space flights, and has already tested a version on zero-gravity parabolic flights, which induce weightlessness without actually being in space.
No word yet on whether pizza will be one of the printing options.
This is impressive!! We are going in the right direction with this. (A hundred years from now, someone's going to write about the 3-d printer and title it "The Little Machine That Could.") This may prove critical in off-world exploration and colonization; just one more important piece to that puzzle. Kudos to humankind!