NASA 3D-printing parts for its next rocket headed for Mars

“Printed” rocket parts like this one could one day take humans to Mars.
(Credit: NASA/MSFC/Andy Hardin)
3D printing has captured the imaginations of just about anyone who knows what it is — even NASA, apparently.
The space agency is using a similar technology to create precise metal parts for its next heavy-lift rocket, which it hopes will eventually help take humans to Mars.
The method is called selective laser melting, or SLM, but it’s not quite the same as printing up a sweet “Star Wars” chess set out of extruded plastic. It’s more of a cross between 3D printing and some high-end,…

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