How to 3D Print Bandages Using Your Own Skin

If you’re going to go to Mars, you’re probably going to get some cuts and scrapes along the way. Traveling into space is a dangerous endeavor. Humans have evolved to live on the surface of our planet and venturing outside of our atmosphere brings all manner of complications. There are the obvious things, like the lack of food, water, and oxygen. Not to mention the deadly vacuum of space or the potentially toxic environments of other worlds. Then there are less obvious problems, things which might not be immediately deadly but could become a problem in an emergency. Here on Earth, if you become injured you have access to a world’s worth of infrastructure including over the counter medications and healthcare systems. In space, if you get a flesh wound, your crewmates might hear you scream but they’ll have limited ways to help. An experiment by German Space Agency (DLR) is hoping to solve this problem with bioprinted bandages made from an astronaut’s own cells.

SpaceX’s 24th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station, which launched in late 2021, carried with it a handheld device known as the Bioprint FirstAid Handheld Bioprinter, or Bioprint FirstAid for short.

The device is designed to hold cells from astronauts or Earth-bound patients, infused inside a bio-ink. In the event of an injury, the Bioprint FirstAid would be used to apply a bandage to the injury site in near real-time. The bio-ink mixes with two fast setting gels and will create a covering similar to plaster.

Previously existing technologies for creating similar structures involved bulky machinery and required additional time for the patches to mature. The Bioprint FirstAid has the benefit of being small enough to hold in the hand and it is totally manual, requiring no batteries or other outside power source to use.

For the tests on the ISS, the device won’t have any live cells inside. Instead, it’s carrying fluorescent microparticles which take the place of cells for later observation. The primary objective of these experiments is to test the print capability of the device in microgravity and compare it to performance in Earth gravity.

Taking this technology into space allows researchers to understand the way tissue layers work together in microgravity, which might be fundamentally different to the way they operate here at home.

The findings will not only inform the future of this technology in space but will also provide insight which might be useful on the ground. While the allure of bioprinting technology for space-based missions is immense, this technology will likely do most of its work here on Earth.

Source: https://www.syfy.com/

Elon Musk Wants To Turn CO2 Into Rocket Fuel

SpaceX is embarking on a bold new adventure: making rocket fuel out of thin air. “SpaceX is starting a program to take CO2 out of atmosphere & turn it into rocket fuel,” CEO Elon Musk tweeted on Monday. “Please join if interested.” Such a process — using in-situ resources to generate fuel — could have great implications during our transition to becoming interplanetary, according to Musk.

Will also be important for Mars,” he added in a follow-up tweet.

It’s particularly a pertinent topic for SpaceX’s operations, given that its workhorse Falcon 9 rocket emits plenty of CO2 when it launches. And it’s not quite as far fetched as it sounds. Using a new technique called “direct air capture” (DAC), SpaceX could suck in thousands of tons of carbon dioxide to turn it into a source of fuelBloomberg reports.

Iceland recently started operations at the world’s largest DAC plant, sucking up to 4,400 tons of CO2 a year. The news comes after Musk announced a $100 million prize to come up with carbon removal technologies earlier this year. The goal is to pull 1,000 tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere annually — and eventually scaling up the operation dramatically.

I think this is one of those things that is going to take a while to figure out what the right solution is,” Musk explained back in April. “And especially to figure out what the best economics are for CO2 removal.” “Right now we’ve only got one planet,” Musk said at the time. “Even a 0.1 percent chance of disaster — why run that risk? That’s crazy!”

Source: https://futurism.com/