Another new asteroid mining venture plans to send fleets of small spacecraft to rendezvous with space rocks, aiming to harvest their contents. That makes two startups now in the asteroid-rushof the early 21st-century teens. This one also plans to use asteroid materials right where they’re found, as feedstock for spaceborne 3-D printers.
Deep Space Industries will unveil its plans later today at the Santa Monica Museum of Flying, but here’s a sneak peek.
Eventually, the goal is to feed the company’s “MicroGravity Foundry,” a new type of 3-D printer that uses nickel-charged gas to print with metal in space. The company claims the metal components would be stronger than those made with traditional sintering methods, which would use low-melting point metals. Ultimately, the foundry would supply a deep-space factory making a wide range of parts, according to the company. It could print new parts for Mars missions, components for new outposts that would replace communications satellites, and even space stations that can beam power back to Earth. Like other asteroid-mining hopefuls, the company says asteroids could also become fuel sources for satellites.