Asteroid Miners to Use 3D Printing for Space Telescopes
(Yahoo! News) Planetary Resources is teaming up with 3D Systems, whose 3D printing technology will help craft components for the Arkyd line of prospecting spacecraft, officials announced on June 26. The collaboration should help billionaire backed Planetary Resources build certain parts of its Arkyd 100, 200 and 300 probes more cheaply and efficiently, officials said.
The Arkyd 200 and 300 spacecraft will be able to both search for asteroids and fly toward promising targets for closer inspections. Once an asteroid is spotted, Planetary Resources plans to send a group of about five Arkyds out to the space rock.
The first Arkyd 100 is expected to launch in 2015. Planetary Resources has pledged to make one of these satellites the first publicly accessible space telescope ever sent into orbit. The telescope will search for asteroids and take “space-selfies” crafted from user-submitted photos. Nearly 15,000 people have contributed more than $1.2 million to help build Planetary Resources’ Arkyd 100 through the crowdfunding website Kickstarter.