3D printing is one of those technologies that allow classrooms to become involved with real projects. These printers give us the opportunity to involve ourselves and our students with real projects.

This is an excellent one.

Recently, a 3D printer has arrived at the International Space Station. Specially designed to work in a weightless environment, the printer will be used to test out the possibilities of having access in space to a machine that can create objects and tools when needed. The possibilities are of course, endless.

And there is now a way to get your students and your classroom involved.

NASA has launched a contest to get students to design and print a tool that astronauts may need access to in space. From the Future Engineers website:

“If you are a K thru 12 student in the United States, your challenge is To Design a Space Tool. The ability to 3D print in space is a game-changer for space exploration. Just think about it, when astronauts are on Mars, they will have the ability to make whatever they need, on demand, even though Earth is just a little blue glimmer in the sky. That’s exactly why we are challenging our next generation of explorers to start designing parts for space now. We want students to create and submit a digital 3D model of a tool that they think astronauts need in space. If you win, your design will become a part of space history as one of the first things ever to be 3D Printed in Space.  “

A great way to motivate students and a very real way for them to become involved with history. A short video introduces the project

Ideas? How do you think you can use this in your classroom? Care to share some of your plans? Leave me a comment or get in touch at: clarence.fisher@printrbot.com. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.