In the wake of NASA's daring Curiosity landing, we have a treat for you: video of NASA engineers testing a next-generation rover designed to support humans when we eventually land on Mars. And that human-supporting rover has dozens of end-use parts 3D printed with FDM Technology.
The rover, which has endured extensive desert testing, holds two astronauts. "They basically live in this module — in this rover. It's like your own personal SUV in space," says NASA test engineer Chris Chapman. Unlike most SUVs, it has two small beds, twelve wheels on six axles, and an observation bubble so astronauts can get up close and personal with some Martian soil.
About 70 parts on the rover were 3D printed on a Stratasys FDM machine, from vents to external housings and camera mounts to a pod door. Chapman says NASA chose 3D printing because of its ability to create complex shapes in lightweight, durable materials on demand.
Stratasys systems are the only 3D printers that use engineering thermoplastics tough enough for such applications, such as polycarbonate and PC-ABS.
Throughout August, Stratasys is spotlighting engineers and designers who use 3D printing to improve lives. Join the conversation at Facebook.com/Stratasys.