Space: The Final Frontier

Space is the final frontier and has been an inspiration for many things in our daily lives since the beginning of time. Space and space travel has influenced our lives over the past 50 years from medical to cinematic to literacy and so much more, there isn't one place that space and space travel hasn't influenced in our daily lives in one way or another.

When Are We Going Back!?

The year was 1961 and John F. Kennedy was the president of the United States. The United States had just started trying to put people in space and John F. Kennedy wanted to land humans on the moon. The president was certain it could be done and NASA knew they could do it. On July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 blasted off with Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin and Michael Collins on board traveling to the moon. Four days later, Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the moon with the Lunar Module dubbed the Eagle while Collins stayed in orbit around the moon.

"Many years ago the great British explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why did he want to climb it. He said, 'Because it is there.' Well, space is there, and we're going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there. And, therefore, as we set sail we ask God's blessing on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked."

-John F. Kennedy, Rice University, Sept. 12, 1962

Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin left a sign on the moon saying, "Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon July 1969, A.D. We came in peace for all mankind." On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong made history and became the first human to step on the moon. He and Aldrin walked around for three hours while doing some experiments and collecting bits of moon dirt and rocks and placing the iconic U.S. flag on the moon. After returning back to Michael Collins and the Apollo 11 shuttle, on July 24, 1969, all three astronauts came back to Earth safely. President Kennedy's wish came true. It took less than 10 years to do it but finally humans had walked on the moon.

Since then there has been countless more Apollo missions and on December 11, 1972, Apollo 17 touched down on the Moon. This was not only our final Moon landing, but the last time we left Earth's orbit. It's been 45 years and we haven't gone back since. Many have their hopes for NASA's Mars Mission starting in the next few decades but NASA has already changed their minds on manned missions to Mars.

Due to lack of funding NASA has decided to shift it's direction from making a manned mission to Mars and focus their efforts towards the moon and possibly establishing a small base colony or lunar orbital station as a gateway point for future missions to Mars. It took them less than 10 years to achieve this daring feat that nobody thought would be possible but this time the daring feat will be towards something greater and be more daunting of a challenge with hopes of planetary travel to Mars in the future.

Interstellar Space Travel

Space Exploration Day is the perfect time to reminisce on the advancements we’ve made, and the future that lay ahead and to watch all the space adventures throughout the universe from Doctor Who to Star Wars to Star Trek and all the fandoms in between. But no more than a hundred years ago the idea of living and surviving on other worlds was the stuff of science fiction, it wasn’t until recently that we began seriously talking about it, and even more recently that governments around the world began to turn their eye to Mars.

As exciting as a time this may be, space is still a dangerous place to venture out into. For those of us that believe the future of our race lay among the stars there are a few things that we would need to changed in order to make traveling in space more safe and secure. That's where space robots come in.

Now if you have ever watched the classic science fiction fantasy movie the 2001: A Space Odyssey we all know that HAL 9000 takes over the spaceship to and the astronaut(s) go steer crazy over it more or less. Though it might seem like this reality may not be a reality you would want to see happen it seem as though Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is already en-route towards making this happen but hopefully without the globally mankind destruction.

Japan’s space agency has for the first time released photos and videos taken on the International Space Station just a few days ago on July 17th by its resident robot drone, which can be remote-controlled from Earth. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency says footage taken by the Internal Ball Camera (or Int-Ball) can be checked in real time by flight controllers and researchers on the ground and then fed back to the on board crew. The Int-Ball was manufactured entirely by 3D printing, and it uses existing drone technology. It’s essentially a floating ball with luminous blue eyes that looks like something straight from Pixar. The drone can be controlled from Earth by the JAXA Tsukuba Space Center.

This lovable cute and cuddly space robot may look like he is going to help us out in our journey among the stars but just you wait till those big blue doe eyes turn red and our worst space nightmare turns into a reality just like we've seen in so many different movies. We've seen it in so many movies and read it ohh so many times in science fiction but we assure that Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency has taken this into consideration and has planned accordingly and not given the Int-Ball an artificial intelligence that could potentially take over the spaceship and so forth. If you want to see videos of the 3D printed Int-Ball in action and read up on its overall objectives you can check out Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency for more.

Where Are We Headed To!?

For our trip to Mars there are going to be a few things that we need to work on for the trip over there and back. Our rocket ship and space ships are going to have to go through a redesign to support life and sustain it throughout the vast emptiest of space between Earth and not to mention while on Mars how and where they are going to live. With the advancements of 3D printing and NASA being NASA they have decided to venture into the realm of 3D printing parts for the journey to Mars and have even had successful advanced rocket engine design runs that look very promising. Though maybe not this exact rocket design will be used for the journey to Mars it still gives an in depth look as to what NASA is doing with 3D printing and rocket design.

NASA has been thinking long and hard about their journey to mars and their living environment situation for living on Mars and have decided to give the people a chance to design the environment for which the astronauts will be living on. Throughout the contests contenders had to design their habitats to adapt to the environment of Mars and incorporate 3D printing. With over 165 habitat submissions and with months and months of hard work NASA finally gave away all their money to three lucky winners of the habitat challenge.

NASA's - 3D Printing
Mars Habitat Competition

The competition is part of NASA’s Centennial Challenges program and is managed by America Makes, a partnership of organizations focused on accelerating capabilities and adoption of additive manufacturing technology (aka 3D printing). More than 165 submissions were received, and the 30 highest-scoring entries were judged and displayed at the Maker Faire event. The first-place award of $25,000 went to Team Space Exploration Architecture and Clouds Architecture Office for their design, Mars Ice House in the top right. Second place and $15,000 was awarded to Team Gamma on the bottom left. Third place was awarded to Team LavaHive on the bottom right.

With there being over 165 3D printable Mars habitat submissions you can view the rest of submissions along with the top 3 finalist over at NASA's tumbler account for all the submissions and stay up to date with all the 3D printable Mars habitat challenges and hopefully eventually their journey to Mars. Not much has been said on how the habitat competition is going to turn out now that NASA has decided to no pursue going to Mars in the next few decades but it will give time for the winners to refine their design and hopefully we might one day see one of their habitat designs on Mars after all.