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3D Biological Printer Will Go To The International Space Station Material Is The Biggest Challenge
Aug 17, 2018

According to the association of electrical and electronics engineers (IEEE) spectrum "magazine reported recently, 3 d printing technology is current, the researchers have successfully print out pieces of human skin, but this technique still has not entered the stage of clinical.Printing organs, by contrast, is a difficult task, because is composed of a variety of cells, organs and blood vessels and nerves intertwined.

And companies like levy (Allevi) o, are trying to meet this challenge.The company has manufacturing (Made in Space) and Space company set up a new partnership, hope to be able to print in a microgravity environment biological materials and even organs, then or can make the Space biomedical dream into reality.

The two companies will 3D printers into space

In a voyage to Mars, astronauts may be terrible burns, will be contaminated by chemical substance;In the more distant future, Martian colonists may also suffer from liver failure...If you can print out a piece of new skin, or print out the replacement organs, this will be an astronaut "patron saint" of life.But at present, the human space flight ability and 3D printing technology is nowhere close to achieve the above scenario.

                                 Allevi company design "zero gravity" (ZeroG), extrusion machine.

3D creature is printed with a special 3D printers, extrusion biomaterial and cells, can build step by step.Allevi company recently designed a "zero gravity" (ZeroG), extrusion machine, can print biological materials under microgravity.The company and was taken to the international space station for two 3 d printer space manufacturing company to establish the cooperation, this is the first step to realize the science of medical scene.

Allevi, chief executive of richie sowa lozano said: "we want it to be plug and play device to help astronauts a better understanding of biological materials in space."

Biological materials such as printing out of the water gel, zero gravity extruder with a syringe piston driven.Technology is the key to squeeze will be glued together immediately after the material management, the material of each layer with a layer of glue before.

Two companies seemed to be sure, they can in the near future will extruder sent to the international space station.Lozano said: "we have rich experience in biological materials;And manufacturing companies know how to get the goods sent to space."

In the space synchronization experiment and comparing the results with the earth

Once the zero gravity extruder integration within the printer to the international space station, there will be a few more direct application.Lozano said, Allevi company already to laboratory distributed all over the world more than 200 printer, want the user to be able to put forward scientific experiments, so that in the international space station and earth experiment and comparison results at the same time.

How about biological materials in space show, there are a lot of interesting scientific problem.Lozano said, for example, researchers to investigate how bone formation, in the absence of gravity, how will this for astronauts spend longer time in space is an important problem.

Microgravity also make some materials and products that could not be made on earth, these products are very useful.Space manufacturing company is on the international space station test manufacturing optical fiber, the pharmaceutical company Merck are fostering may be useful for drug delivery of crystal.

Allevi companies can be persuaded to America's national aeronautics and space administration (NASA) extruder to the international space station, can also the request of the national laboratory researchers on the international space station.Either way, zero gravity extruder must be by NASA's safety and validation checks.NASA needs to assess all materials and systems to ensure that they are not to the health of astronauts threat or the operation of the international space station.

The biggest challenge is material

For the moment, in 3D space biological print is also facing many difficulties.

Space manufacturing company President and chief executive officer Andrew rush to explain, space 3D printing requires careful control of extrusion process, "because you don't want droplet drift elsewhere;You also need to control the machine working temperature;In addition, the lack of micro-gravity environment we granted convection in the earth, so it is difficult to keep the hot and cold parts cold hot parts."

But space, print out the biggest obstacle may be the material.Although Allevi company will hydrogels such as biological materials to the international space station is relatively easy, but to get approval to send populate these hydrogel scaffold of human cells, it will be harder.Lozano said: "we need to figure out on the international space station (iss) what is the limit of processing cells."