Washington : NASA has recently announced it would give funds to a California-based 3D printing company for finding ways to turn asteroids into giant, autonomous spacecraft, which could fly to outposts in space, the media reported.
NASA funding project to turn asteroids into spaceships
Made In Space's project, known as RAMA (Reconstituting Asteroids into Mechanical Automata), could one day enable space colonization by helping make off-Earth manufacturing efficient and economically viable, Space.com reported. The company plans to use 3D printing to turn the asteroids into self-flying vehicles by 2030. The concept received funding through NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts programme, which will provide $100,000 for feasibility studies. “Today, we have the ability to bring resources from Earth," Jason Dunn, Made In Space co-founder and chief technology officer, was quoted as saying.
However, since RAMA is still in the very early stages, Dunn estimated that the effort might require 20 years and the first Seed Craft may get off the ground in the late 2030s. Project RAMA could also have applications here on Earth, Dunn added, saying that machines similar to Seed Craft could do a variety of jobs around the planet. "You could build infrastructure in remote locations somewhat autonomously, and convert resources into useful devices and mechanical machines. This actually could solve some pretty big problems on Earth, from housing to construction of things that make people's lives better," he said.