Scientists and technology enthusiasts have come up with some very crazy ideas over the past few decades. Some of these concepts sound far more feasible compared to others. Made in Space, a company focusing on new technologies and concepts is building out its Archinaut system. This project serves as a full-fledged factory in the sky, solely operated by autonomous robots.
The Archinaut System Is Quite Ambitious
A lot of people may recall the name Made In Space Inc, as it is the company responsible for bringing 3D printers aboard the ISS. However, the startup is working toward an even bigger goal that will be incredibly difficult to pull off. Then again, people are encouraged to dream big and try to make a difference in this world. That is exactly what the Archinaut system is all about.
To be more specific, the Archinaut system is a project that aims to launch a factory in the sky. Moreover, all of the day-to-day operations are carried out by autonomous robots. It is safe to say this project lacks no ambition whatsoever, even though achieving the goal will be quite challenging, to say the least. The Archinaut should be capable of producing and assembling any type of equipment, including satellites and perhaps even spacecraft.
Company president Andrew Rush feels this goal is not as far out of reach as some people may pretend it to be. To be more precise, he feels there is a big opportunity waiting to be seized. Taking manufacturing technologies we know today and using them for space exploration is quite an intriguing concept. It is evident the company wants to be at the forefront when it comes to colonizing other planets in the future.
There are some positive side effects to manufacturing things in space. It opens up new opportunities and possibilities that would otherwise remain out of reach. Moreover, it would be beneficial to launch spacecraft directly from the factory, as doing so would avoid the gravitational power experienced when launching a craft from Earth. Doing it from space makes things more efficient, allows for storing more mass, and makes space-bound missions more feasible as a whole.
Do not be mistaken in thinking there will be no challenges, though. Material choices and the deployment of proper hardware are two critical facts related to the Archinaut project. Assembling things in space is rather different from Earth, as there is not necessarily a continuous supply of new materials to work with. Temperature changes have to be taken into account as well, combined with radiation and longevity concerns. In this regard, it makes a lot of sense to let autonomous robots build everything, rather than humans.
Additionally, the Archinaut uses a technology known as ESAMM. This acronym stands for extended structure additive manufacturing machine. To be more precise, this technique revolves around molding materials and shapes while they can still be manipulated, and assembling large pieces together when needed. This should, in theory, remove any limitations regarding build area. An interesting concept that will attract a lot of attention over the coming years.
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