Cosmic 3D printing specialist RedWorks spent much of last year working on an additive manufacturing project of interstellar proportions. Located in Lancaster, California, the company was initially set up to design 3D printable housing fit for human habitation on the Mars, but is now developing a range of spinoff technologies for use on Earth.
Early 2016 will see RedWorks begin testing a range of prototype products, first earmarked for its 3D printed Mars habitats but now optimized for use on the third planet from the Sun. The series of spinoff technologies will commence with the “Made for Mars” program, designed for consumer and industrial applications.
RedWorks is introducing the Made for Mars spinoff program for two reasons: To explain the benefits of space exploration to the general public, and to offer genuinely useful products across a range of fields. Further “space-rated solutions for Earth-based problems” could benefit projects in affordable housing, land reclamation, erosion management, waste management, renewable energy, water conservation and urban agriculture.
Since its inception, RedWorks has sought to design basic infrastructures for operation on asteroids, the Moon and ultimately Mars, inspired by the simple construction principles of ancient cultures, as well as organic structures found in nature. Its low-cost 3D printed space habitation solutions are designed for production with in-situ resources such as planetary regolith, and could provide adequate food, air, water and sanitation for four astronauts over a period of one year.
RedWorks will use the knowledge and experience gained from its Mars habitat project—a project which reached the finals of the AmericaMakes 3D Printed Habitat Challenge—to inform its range of Earth-specific programs. The logic behind the project appears to take the following form: If an object is strong enough, stable enough and effective enough to be used on an unknown and uninhabited planet, it must be comfortably good enough for Earth use. Frankly, we can’t argue with that.
The interplanetary innovators at RedWorks have been on the 3Ders radar for some time now, after going public with their breathtaking 3D printed Mars habitat design last year. The company’s ethos blends a passion for additive manufacturing with a practical focus on strict resourcefulness. “For Mars to be the next frontier,” RedWorks’ Keegan Kirkpatrick wrote in October, “we will have to bring the essentials in a Martian covered wagon and build a homestead with what we find in the surroundings.”
The first range of Made for Mars spinoff products will be tested in early 2016, with RedWorks simultaneously expanding the scope of its Mars Habitat system into complete colonies for the Moon and Mars. These developments will, in turn, provide the basis for further Earth-appropriate spinoff technologies.