Out of This World: Challenge open to 3D print in space

space_3D_printOne of the greatest challenges to long-term space travel is the inherent difficulty in delivering supplies to the astronauts. However, the advent of 3D printing technology allows astronauts to create many useful items, such as emergency tools, onsite while serving on the International Space Station (ISS).

Using 3D printing to create certain supplies greatly reduces the need for expensive and dangerous supply deliveries to space, according to Mouser Electronics.

What other tools could astronauts print in space that would make their lives easier? The Mouser Electronics Empowering Innovation Together ISS Design Challenge offers engineers and innovators the chance to design an object for the astronauts to 3D-print and use on the ISS.

The design challenge focuses on the unique problems an astronaut faces during a long-term space mission, and looks to highlight out-of-the-box thinking to develop any item that makes daily life easier, says Mouser Electronics spokesperson Grant Imahara in a YouTube video describing the contest.

Colonel Chris Hadfield, a former commander of the ISS, highlights the challenges of performing daily activities for astronauts who are working for long periods of time in a weightless environment.

“You’ve got to rethink everything in a weightless environment,” Colonel Hadfield says in the video. “Something regular, day-to-day, practical,” could make a big difference for astronauts, he explains. For example, something as basic as a pair of scissors needs Velcro in space to keep them from floating away when not in use, he noted. Colonel Hadfield will be among the panel of judges selecting the winning entry.

“This contest definitely kicks up the excitement level by challenging our customers to create something to be used in space,” says Glenn Smith, President and CEO of Mouser Electronics. “Mouser’s unparalleled selection of electronic components allows both amateurs and professionals to create anything they can dream up.”

Visit www.mouser.com/empowering-innovation/iss-project to view a video describing the contest and entry guidelines. The grand-prize winner will receive a 3D printer and a consultation with Made In Space. The contest is open until midnight the night of October 7, 2016. Visit this site to submit an entry: http://www.mouser.com/contests/iss-project-contest. – NewsUsa

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