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PART I: THE ORIGINAL IDEA OF A 6 YEARS OLD BOY.
On April 26, 2016 I published an article about some discussions my son and I had frequently about the Moon and Mars and how we could use a 3D printer there (if you can read Moliere’s language, french, here is the link to it). The main subject was to, one day, use a 3D printer with recycled material made from things that became useless or from raw material directly collected on the surface of the planet or deeper in the crust. Why doing that instead of using new material especially made for the printer? Well, let’s say that because 1 kilo of freight still requires more than 8 kilos of propellant for a little trip to mars, it makes the freight cost quite expansive.
PART II: SCIENCE PROGRESS TOWARD THE REALIZATION OF HIS IDEA
In April 2018, I wrote another article around the same topic: How can we get cheap material to 3D print what we would need once arrived on another planet (As this article is in Shakespeare’s language, it should be easy for you to read it following that link). Researchers in the Canadian University of Calgary had found a way to transform the production of your digestive track into a solid material that will work very well in a SLS 3D printer.
Markus Kayser and his great invention, the Solar Sinter, was in my article too. Using the energy from the sun and the sand from the desert to 3D print objects was genius.
PART III: WE NEVER GOT CLOSER
And the story just got one more chapter thanks to the great work at the Tethers Unlimited Company. These guys created the Refabricator. A few weeks ago, it was delivered to the International Space Station (ISS). The name of the machine speaks by itself. Something useless that was fabricated before can be transformed in raw material to re-fabricate something with it. In the size of a refrigerator, you get together a 3D printer and a recycling machine that can feed directly the printer to re-use, for example, the packaging of the scientific equipment you just got from the delivery boy on his space scooter.
PART IV: THE REFABRICATOR II CAN ALSO 3DPRINT USING CRUSHED ROCKS
Of course the Refabricator II doesn’t exist (yet…). But someday, in one or two years from now, I will write a fourth article about the concretization of an idea my son had when he was about six years old. The title will be “From a little boy’s dream to reality”. He will be reassured that having creative ideas is a good thing. Great ideas rarely comes from following the main road.
I encourage you all to foster the creativity of your kids and discuss any topics they find interesting to them, even the craziest ones. It will be good for them and for us, parents.