The Daily Telegraph

Tools and rocket parts can be created on Mars

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Engineers could 3D-print tools on Mars using materials from the planet itself, according to a study that could change the future of space travel.

Researcher­s say they are unable to carry everything out to space and that it would be hugely expensive to do so.

The team at Washington State University in the US discovered small amounts of simulated crushed Martian rock, mixed with titanium alloy, made a strong, high-performanc­e material that could be used to make tools and rocket parts on the Red Planet.

There is exciting news from boffins at Washington State University. They report that engineers should be able to use 3D printing to make tools on Mars, and they could even be fashioned from material on the Red Planet itself.

This means essential replacemen­ts and spare parts for rockets would not have to be brought with the astronauts, but could be produced on the spot. It is an important developmen­t because of the huge costs of transporti­ng kit into space. The study’s authors say it costs close to £50,000 just to put one kilogram of material into orbit.

But aren’t we getting a bit ahead of ourselves? We have to get there first, and at the moment, even the Moon – last visited 50 years ago – looks out of reach after recent launch failures.

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