I learned about the Smith Cloud today via the video below from NASA. It’s a gas cloud the mass of about 2 million Suns (not much astronomically), moving at a high velocity of about 700,000 miles per hour. It’s one of many circling the Milky Way, but one that is coming back to collide with the Milky Way. When it does, it’ll just kind of merge in and cause a lot of new stars to form from all the gas and energy it carries, not much more. Boring, with a slightly mysterious history likely unraveled, unless you look at it in a different way with a scientifically apt metaphor…
NASA has just released some amazing high resolution files of Pluto.
The resolution is more than good enough to create a 3D print of the planet, at something like a room sized scale, and maintain all of the details captured, in my opinion. If done smaller, you’ll even lose some details! That is, the information might be finer than the 3D printing technology that is currently available!
So the only thing remaining for me to ask is who will be the first?
I think that would be quite something to see, Pluto in 3D compared to just a speck of light we knew of its appearance only a short prior to whenever they get enough information to print the 3D model!
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?