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NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts

Biomaterials out of thin air: in situ, on-demand printing of advanced biocomposites

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

The concept is that a 3D array of bioengineered living cells deposits materials, both biological and inorganic, that are bound into nonliving, microstructured finished products.    

Imagine being able to print anything from tools and composite building materials to food and human tissues. Imagine being on Mars with the ability to replace any broken part, whether it's a part of your spacesuit, your habitat, or your own body. We propose a technique that would allow just that. By printing 3D arrays of cells engineered to secrete the necessary materials, the abundant in situ resources of atmosphere and regolith become organic, inorganic, or organic-inorganic composite materials. Such materials include novel, biologically derived materials not previously possible to fabricate.

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A final report document may be available for this project. If you would like to request it, please contact us.

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