Science and Technology: Emailing a Tool a World Away

In December NASA and Astronaut Butch Wilmore accomplished a very exciting and incredible thing; NASA emailed a socket wrench to space and Butch Wilmore printed it and used it. This sounds a little crazy right? Well it actually happened. Astronaut Butch Wilmore is living on the International Space Station right now where he is conducting experiments for NASA. Unfortunately he realized that he needed a pretty common tool, a socket wrench, but it was nowhere to be found. Usually when astronauts at the International Space Station need something they have to wait for NASA to send it on a rocket ship, which is not the fastest delivery system despite how fast a rocket ship is. It can take weeks or months for the astronauts to receive what they need. But Butch needed a socket wrench, asap. So what was the best solution? A 3D printer. This technology is still pretty new, it has been used to create many things her eat home including printing human organs like hearts for transplant patients. But to email something from Earth to space and print it and use it? Unheard of. Until now. NASA emailed the socket wrench to Butch in December and he received it, printed it, and used it. The tool is fully functional and made out of plastic. Now Butch can compete his experiments and repairs.

What would you and your boys print if you had access to a 3D printer? What could you create or build that would be useful to people? What would you create just for fun?

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