Space

Essential Pittsburgh
2:40 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

Made in Space: 3D Printing Technology Reaches the International Space Station

A ratchet wrench which was 3D printed in space. The wrench was designed by Made in Space, Inc., which has been contracted by NASA to design, build, and operate the 3D printer on the International Space Station.
Credit NASA / Flickr

Earlier this week, SpaceX had to delay the launch of an unmanned cargo ship headed for the International Space Station. Some of that cargo includes spare parts needed by the Space Station scientists. But very soon, because of 3D printing technology, people in remote locations such as the Space Station will be able to create their own spare parts and tools on the go.

Last fall, the first zero gravity 3D printer was sent to the Space Station and test parts have been created based on digitally downloaded designs.

This news, along with the announcement of a large General Electric additive manufacturing facility coming to the Pittsburgh area, highlights the major advancements in 3D printing technology and its role in the future growth of our technology base.

University of Pittsburgh professor Howard Kuhn is a well known researcher and consultant in the world of additive manufacturing/3D printing. He joins us to talk about the advancements and evolution of the industry.

The 3D printer on the Space Station utilizes the most basic process available. The machine is fairly simple, which Kuhn says will allow the industry to move forward and make more advancements through experimentation.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:08 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

MoonMail Raises Questions About Commercial Space Flight and Space Freight

Credit Astrobotic / www.astrobotic.com

So, your life's dream has always been to send something to the moon? You may soon have your chance. A Pittsburgh company called Astrobotic is introducing a new service called MoonMail that will allow individuals to send their keepsakes to the surface of the moon. 

But with whose permission, and for what purpose? Astrobotic CEO John Thornton joins us to talk about the future of space freight.

Thornton describes Astrobotic as a “lunar logistics company” -- something like FedEx or UPS but with service to the moon. There’s been a great amount of interest in lunar freight, explains Thornton, including a plan to put a tiny house on the moon’s surface.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:08 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Pitt Professor Helps NASA with Search for Life on Mars

Credit NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Technology using ultraviolet light to analyze and examine pieces of matter invented by University of Pittsburgh chemistry professor Sandy Asher is expected to be part of NASA's Mars 2020 Rover mission. The goal is to determine whether life exists on the Red Planet. Sandy Asher joins us to talk about the UV technology he's developed.

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Science
11:29 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Look Up! Comet ISON Starts Its Pass Around the Sun

It might not live up to its hype as the “Comet of the Century,” but Comet ISON could still light up the night sky this December.

Comet ISON — named after the Russian-based organization that discovered it in 2012 — was originally predicted by the astronomy community to possibly be as bright as the moon, giving it the title “Comet of the Century.” According to Dan Malerbo, program coordinator of the Buhl Planetarium, the three-mile wide comet has not brightened at its expected rate and now might not even survive it’s trip around the sun.

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Exploiting Extraterrestrial Resources: Economic and Legal Issues in Outer Space

Point Park Professor Dimitris Kraniou pushes his economics students to think on the macro-level with his extraterrestrial economics course
Credit Point Park

With the steady depletion of earth’s natural resources and accelerating population growth, more and more people are giving serious thought to the idea of outer space resource exploration.

But how should the process be regulated? Professor Dimitris Kraniou, Point Park University Chair of the Department of Global Management and Organization, has been teaching this subject matter for years in his special project classes for graduate students. He turns real life global problems into outer space "what if" scenarios for students to solve.