3-D printing, what is it and what is all of the hubbub? A very simple analogy of 3-D printing would be if you imagine a regular printer, printing ink onto paper and going back and forth layering the ink on the paper thousands of times until you build up a three dimensional object. When a 3-D printer is in action, it may use a variety of different types of “ink”, including types of plastic, cement, and just about any material that has a liquid viscosity that later dries and hardens.
This technology is widely considered to be a game changer for everything from daily life to manufacturing and construction. Almost anything can be printed with the correct type of printer and “ink”. For example, if you are missing a vital piece of plastic for your washing machine, as long as you can acquire a digital copy, by scanning the object or downloading it, you can send that information to the printer and voilà, your washer is now easy to fix. A variety of different types of three dimensional printing machines are now available. The prices vary dramatically. Some home use printers are as inexpensive as $300. Commercial printers can range from $10,000 to $20,000.
The Mars Society was privileged during its recent 2014 International Mars Society Convention in Houston to provide audience members with a sneak preview of a wonderful new song - "Reach Beyond the Stars" - which includes a special Mars-oriented rallying call for space enthusiasts. The song was written by Mark R. Goujon and sung by Jason Wyatt. The song was performed digitally during the convention's Saturday evening banquet with a large crowd in attendance.
In addition, "Reach Beyond the Stars" was officially released last week on iTunes, Amazon MP3 and Google Play for digital download and streaming. The Mars Society invites you to listen to this song, a true anthem for Mars and space advocates, by visiting Mr. Goujon's web site.
Mars Society President Dr. Robert Zubrin gave the first public presentation of the 'Mars Direct' plan during the closing plenary of the May 1990 National Space Society Convention in Anaheim, CA. The talk is now available for viewing on YouTube (at 2:10 into the video). Dr. Zubrin was introduced by then NSS President Charles Walker. Enjoy!
Comments made by former NASA Administrator Dr. Mike Griffin at the 2014 International Mars Society Convention
HOUSTON - U.S. policymakers and others passionate about a human Mars landing are delusional if they believe the nation that ended its first foray into deep space with the Apollo moon landings is on a calculated path to the Red Planet, according to former NASAadministrator Mike Griffin.
Current efforts, focused on NASA’s Asteroid Retrieval Mission (ARM) as a springboard, are fizzling because the U.S. is not the "space-faring" nation most assume, he told the 17th Mars Society conference in League City, Texas, as part of an Aug. 9 session on exploration.
"There are reasons other than technical why that has not happened. It isn’t about the money," Griffin told the conference organized around Mars Direct, the society’s strategy for establishing a sustained human presence on Mars without intermediate destinations by using current technologies and extracting fuel, life support and construction materials from the planet’s atmosphere and soil.
The final round of the International Inspiration Mars Student Design Contest was held over the weekend at the 17th Annual International Mars Society Convention in League City, Texas, near NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Organized by the Mars Society and inspired by Dennis Tito, a respected engineer and space visionary, the competition brought together ten university student teams as finalists to present their design proposals for a two-person Mars flyby mission.
With a high-level panel of judges consisting of current and former NASA officials, Mr. Tito and Mars Society President Dr. Robert Zubrin, nine student teams from the United States, Japan, India, Germany, the Netherlands and Poland spent Saturday afternoon giving oral presentations, describing and defending their engineering concepts for a Mars mission, while a team from Russia participated via Skype.
As part of the Mars Society convention’s Saturday evening banquet, Dr. Zubrin and Mr. Tito officially announced the winner of the Inspiration Mars design contest as Team Kanau (Japan-U.S.), a multi-institutional contingent involving students from Keio University, Purdue University, Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine, Nagoya University, International Space University, Art Center College of Design, Tokyo University of Agriculture & Technology and Tokyo Jogakkan College.
Addition winners were also acknowledged: 2nd place - Team MAVERIC (U.S. - University of Colorado), 3rd place - Team IMMORTAL (U.S. - University of Illinois), 4th place - Team Eclipse (U.S. - University of California Davis) and 5th place - Mars 18 (Germany - University of Stuttgart). One judge later commented that the student engineering competition was very close, with only a few points separating many of the contestants.
To view Team Kanau’s winning engineering design proposal, as well as those of the other student team finalists, please click here.
Commenting on the successful competition, Dr. Zubrin declared, “I am amazed at the extraordinary strength and quality of the work set forth by these teams. Where some people have said that a low-cost two-person Mars flyby mission can’t be done in the near future, these teams have shown very clearly that it can. These designs will be of enormous benefit to Inspiration Mars, NASA or anyone else who is willing to step up and take on this challenge. They also show beyond question that around the world a new generation of terrific young engineers is waiting in the wings, inspired by the challenge of human space exploration and ready to pick up and carry forward the banner when the time comes for them to take their turn. Congratulations to all the teams, and hats off to the winners and to Inspiration Mars for inspiring this terrific display of talent!”