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Asteroid Metal Used to 3D-Print Logo

February 08, 2016
Source: ASM International

By 2025, mining asteroids may be as commonplace as digging a hole in your backyard.

Asteroid mining company Planetary Resources wanted to get that point across at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nev., so engineers used 3-D printing technology and metal from an actual asteroid to produce a three-dimensional version of their logo. It is the first part ever 3D Printed with material from outer space and is reminiscent of a design that could originate from a 3D printer in the zero-gravity environment of space.

The company used a meteorite found in Campo Del Cielo, Argentina. The rock, like other asteroids, contained a rich source of metals and other valuable compounds.

In fact, asteroids are known for containing platinum, nickel, iron, and cobalt, similar materials to refinery grade steel. After partnering with 3D Systems, a company known for their 3-D printing tech, Planetary Sources was able to print the asteroid metal into the logo.

So why did a mining company partner with a 3-D printing company? CEO Chris Lewicki explains, "Instead of manufacturing something in an Earth factory and putting it on a rocket and shipping it to space, what if we put a 3-D printer into space and everything we printed with it we got from space? There are billions and billions of tons of this material in space."

Subject Classifications

Industries and Applications

Industries and Applications | Aerospace and Defense

Materials Properties and Performance

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