PISCES Looks to Print Space Tools from Hawaii’s Lava Rocks

RepRap v.2 'Mendel' open-source FDM 3D printer. Credit: CharlesC
RepRap v.2 ‘Mendel’ open-source FDM 3D printer. Credit: CharlesC

PISCES — the Pacific International Space Center for Exploration Systems — is looking to develop 3-D printing capability for use on the moon under a new cooperative agreement with NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC), according to Executive Director Rob Kelso.

Kelso said PISCES is seeking to develop printing technology that can make use of the island’s lava rock, which is similar to rock on the moon and Mars.

“That is one of the big things we are wanting to do,” said the former NASA flight director, explaining that future space explorers are going to need to make use of the materials around them.

“You are going to need to make … wrenches and tools out of the material that’s there,” he said.

KSC will be providing the Hawaii-based PISCES with technical assistance under the agreement, which replaces one that expired with the NASA Ames Research Center. PISCES will reimburse KSC for its expenses.

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