Planetary Resources, in collaboration 3D Systems, have produced the first ever direct metal print from asteroid sourced metal. The component is the first part ever additively manufactured 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 part was 3D printed from an asteroid that was pulverised to form a powder that was then processed with the new 3D Systems ProX DMP 320 metals 3D printer. The asteroid used for the print materials was obtained from the Campo Del Cielo impact near Argentina and is composed of iron, nickel and cobalt. The materials are similar to refinery grade steel.
Asteroids could provide a wide range of minerals and Planetary Resources is targeting those rich in water or precious metals. The company is actively exploring the possibility of sourcing these materials directly from asteroids in outer space.