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29 votes
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Have things been intentionally welded in space? If so, what kinds of metals and techniques were used, and why was it necessary?

This got answered on Quora too. So, this link puts out the basics: Georgi Shonin and Valeri Kubasov, Russian cosmonauts who crewed the Soviet Soyuz 6 mission to space in 1969, were the first to ...
blobbymcblobby's user avatar
15 votes
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What (if any) replacement parts have been 3D printed on the ISS and then installed?

As far as I could find, there have been no cases of 3d printed parts being installed as direct replacements to ISS parts. There is however a history of tools being printed (but not necessarily used) ...
Dragongeek's user avatar
  • 19.1k
13 votes

Supports in 3d printing

Supports are not needed "just" because of gravity. They hold pieces in exact position relative to the "bed" (and so relative to the coordinate system). With most printers the model moves during print ...
jkavalik's user avatar
  • 5,128
12 votes
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Recycling space debris for manufacturing in space

No doubt this is possible, but it is not practical. The main problem being the vast array of different orbits available and the high energy cost to move between many of them. In most cases it would be ...
Slarty's user avatar
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11 votes
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Where will we get nitrogen in space?

Nitrogen in space can come from several sources. Once we reach the stage of actually extracting resources from other planets and moons as the question seems to imply, we really should not have a ...
Oscar Lanzi's user avatar
  • 8,525
11 votes

Recycling space debris for manufacturing in space

The previous answers are wrong. Moving stuff between two reasonably similar orbits is actually much less energy-intensive than launching up the same mass right to the intended orbit. And indeed any ...
leftaroundabout's user avatar
11 votes
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How can we source potassium fluoride outside of Earth?

Most fluorine compounds are ultimately produced from fluorite mineral deposits, which in turn were produced hydrothermally, by hot water percolating through igneous rock. Particularly "felsic&...
Christopher James Huff's user avatar
9 votes

Could Martian soil be used as material for a 3d metal printer?

In short, yes blasting a powerful enough laser at the Martian regolith would have a similar effect to sands here on Earth, it would cause melting and a solid object would form. However in order to be ...
Cam Waite's user avatar
  • 133
9 votes

How can we source potassium fluoride outside of Earth?

The formation of carbonates requires liquid water. Potassium fluoride can be formed from potassium carbonate. The Moon is yet to indicate it ever had liquid water, but Mars has had liquid water and ...
Fred's user avatar
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6 votes
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Manufacturing solar cells on the Moon

Perovskites may prevent the need for such complex manufacturing facilities. https://www.nasa.gov/feature/glenn/2019/building-solar-panels-in-space-might-be-as-easy-as-clicking-print Perovskites are ...
DJG's user avatar
  • 804
6 votes

What (if any) replacement parts have been 3D printed on the ISS and then installed?

I'm pretty sure the quote is an overstatement. Though I imagine that over a long enough time, this might become reality. I've checked my usual references, and while there are 3D printers on the ISS, ...
Mefitico's user avatar
  • 1,967
6 votes
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Why is the Space industry expected to flourish and grow in the near future?

Private companies have been trying to get into the launch business since the 80s (ORTRAG in Germany since the 70s), usually turning into a financial disaster for the investors. Several things have ...
Greg's user avatar
  • 4,287
5 votes

Asteroid Mining on Ceres

Ceres has a surface gravity on of 0.029G and an escape velocity of 500ms. So there would be a down, standing up would be possible and it would be impossible to accidentally escape into orbit. Falling ...
GremlinWranger's user avatar
5 votes
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Is additive manufacturing ever tested in space or are there some future missions which plan to do so?

At least in 2014, the ISS had an experimental 3D printer. The International Space Station’s 3-D printer has manufactured the first 3-D printed object in space, paving the way to future long-term ...
Organic Marble's user avatar
5 votes
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Could Martian soil be used as material for a 3d metal printer?

Firstly Martian soil is less than 1 in 40 FeO. While still abundant its along way off being processed and ready for such proposals. However with enough power and infrastructure: there is no reason, ...
ANone's user avatar
  • 3,432
5 votes

Supports in 3d printing

I have no links to validate this answer, but with a few years of 3D printing behind me, I can attest to the effect of gravity on 3D printing. Micro-gravity would be a boon for earth-bound 3D ...
fred_dot_u's user avatar
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5 votes
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Is TIG or laser welding feasable for building aluminum habitats either on the Moon or in orbit?

Answer: I think wire-feed MIG (metal inert gas) welding would be the better choice for structural aluminum space habitats. https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/19940000578 TIG (tungsten inert gas) has ...
Woody's user avatar
  • 22.1k
4 votes

Manufacturing solar cells on the Moon

Lunar Reources Inc. proposes to manufacture solar panels in situ by electrolyzing the lunar regolith to seperate the various components (metals, silicon, oxygen, etc.) and vacuum-depositing material ...
f_n_lyre's user avatar
  • 101
4 votes
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Manufacturing rope, textile, and clothing on Mars

One possibility is basalt fiber cloth. It is made on Earth using only basalt rock, which is melted and drawn into threads as fine as 9 microns. A small amount of sizing is applied to the threads to ...
kim holder's user avatar
  • 21.4k
4 votes

What was being manufactured on Salyut and Mir?

I have a (probably exhaustive) list of every smelting experiments that where done on the space stations (Sayult 5-7; mir) I could post it but it would take time to compile (There was many experiments ...
Antzi's user avatar
  • 12.6k
4 votes
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Comparing gravity wells: Earth from the Moon vs Surface of Mars

Halfway between earth and Mars? So an orbit 1.26 A.U. in radius, (earth orbit is 1 A.U. in radius and Mars orbit is 1.52 A.U.) About 5 kilometers/second to leave Mars surface with enough extra delta ...
HopDavid's user avatar
  • 15.8k
4 votes
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3D metal printer in microgravity possible?

It seems, like space environment would not only be possible, but actually beneficial - although not necessarily for this specific device. Both due to gravity introducing undesirable stresses, which ...
SF.'s user avatar
  • 55k
4 votes

Is there likely to be much nitrogen in the Moon's inner crust?

This article from Nature reports that lunar nitrogen is mostly confined near the surface and apparently came from outside sources including Earth. Probably the Moon, with almost no atmosphere and too ...
Oscar Lanzi's user avatar
  • 8,525
4 votes

Why wouldn't vat photopolymerization work in space?

The "surface curing" type of VPP obviously is near-impossible in microgravity, as gravity is needed to confine the uncured resin and level its surface. It might be possible to do the same ...
Christopher James Huff's user avatar
4 votes

Recycling space debris for manufacturing in space

If somebody wants to build new cars from junk cars as raw material, would he use junk cars from the other side of the Earth at maximum distance? Would he transport every junk car one by one using a ...
Uwe's user avatar
  • 49k
3 votes

Challenges and power required to make useable iron from iron oxide on the surface of Mars?

Useable Iron is not pure metallic iron, it is iron with the right amount of carbon. Too few carbon and the iron is too soft, too much and the iron is too hard and brittle. A little bit of other ...
Uwe's user avatar
  • 49k
3 votes
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Demonstrating molten oxide electrolysis on the Moon, what would require the most power, keeping it molten or driving the electrolysis?

It depends on what rock you use, but possibly the waste heat from electrolysis is enough to keep it hot. Take aluminum oxide as an example (Springer): About half of the energy spent in aluminium ...
user3528438's user avatar
  • 1,641
3 votes
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Which solar system objects could a space elevator be built on with modern tech?

Here's how you can calculate this for any spinning body. First, you need its stationary orbital radius $$r_{stationary} = \sqrt[^3]{\frac{\mu}{\omega}}$$ $\mu$ is the body's mass parameter, a ...
SE - stop firing the good guys's user avatar
3 votes

Where will we get nitrogen in space?

The upper atmosphere of Venus, of course, has a substantial nitrogen component that might be mined by orbit nuclear powered PROFAC vehicles. The nitrogen could then be transported back to cis-lunar ...
Marcel Williams's user avatar
3 votes

What benefits or new activities could take specific advantage of variable and/or low but not microgravity environment?

Low enough gravity and you can have human wing-powered flight. I don't know how much of a sport it would make, but at low enough gravity you can run on water. If you can manage to arrange it, have a ...
Loren Pechtel's user avatar

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