NASA will be sending a 3D printer into space in June 2014 with the fifth SpaceX supply mission for the International Space Station (CNN). You can read all about the why and such in the article linked. What I’d like to propose is a cool and simple little contest prize.
The prize would be that the winner would get to send a 3D printing file of his/her choice to be printed in space, and sent to him/her when it’ll get send back to Earth with the next transport back of astronauts. The winner would then have something that was 3D printed in space! Maybe even the FIRST object 3D printed in space to give it historical significance and value, that is important.
Having the FIRST piece as the prize would definitely up the ante rather than just any piece!
Of course, the object would have to be within some reasonable and practical limit like volume since material, weight and space are precious commodities on the ISS. And one would want to be sure it worked on Earth with a sample printing, though how to compensate for lack of gravity would have to be dealt with by NASA.
As for the contest? Well, let NASA decide that. Maybe it could be a 3D printer object sculpting contest. Maybe it could be a bidding contest for the object chosen by NASA. Or anything else, for that matter. It’s the prize of something printed 3D in space…
So NASA, are you up for it?