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NASA’s Perseverance Rover Bringing 3D-Printed Metal Parts to Mars

21 Oct 2020, 09:36 UTC
NASA’s Perseverance Rover Bringing 3D-Printed Metal Parts to Mars
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This video clip shows a 3D printing technique where a printer head scans over each layer of a part, blowing metal powder which is melted by a laser. It’s one of several ways parts are 3D printed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, but was not used to create the parts aboard the Perseverance rover.

For hobbyists and makers, 3D printing expands creative possibilities; for specialized engineers, it’s also key to next-generation spacecraft design.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — If you want to see science fiction at work, visit a modern machine shop, where 3D printers create materials in just about any shape you can imagine. NASA is exploring the technique – known as additive manufacturing when used by specialized engineers – to build rocket engines as well as potential outposts on the Moon and Mars. Nearer in the future is a different milestone: NASA’s Perseverance rover, which lands on the Red Planet on Feb. 18, 2021, carries 11 metal parts made with 3D printing.

Instead of forging, molding, or cutting materials, 3D printing relies on lasers to melt powder in successive layers to give shape to something. Doing so allows engineers to play with unique designs and traits, such as ...

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