Printing More Than Just Pictures Of Some Dude’s Butt

Let’s face it, the first thing anyone did with an office copy machine was to get some dude drunk, cop the boss’ key and come back to work after hours and copy a picture of his butt.

Oh, the laughter and the hilarity as they waited at the output station for the print of that dude’s butt. Oh, the funny. The funny.

Copy machines have come a long way. Not only can we now scan a butt so well that the print looks like a flat object, but real, we can also print out a fully three-dimensional butt.

You know what? Let’s get off the whole butt thing?

I’m talking here about 3-D printing. If you’ve not heard about it, it’s absolutely fascinating and fantastic. Basically, you get a computerized template, a canister of raw materials and then throw them together. Using some ingenious methods, the printer actually outputs a physical object.

Sure, it’s mostly been used for plasticky toys and suchlike at the start, but that was just the start. Some dudes are thinking bigger. Much, much bigger.

There’s already been plenty of talk about 3D-printing entire buildings, but those ambitions may not remain strictly earthbound for too long. According to a new report from, the European Space Agency and partners from London-based architecture firm Foster + Partners have begun to explore the feasibility of 3D printing a life-sustaining base on the lunar surface.

Of course, lunar dust on its own wouldn’t exactly make for the best building material, prompting the parties involved to look at ways to bolster the durability of their would-be moon base. Simulated moon dust was then combined with magnesium oxide and a “binding salt” to help the concoction settle properly, and the whole process is apparently capable of working in the vacuum of space thanks to a crafty approach to extruding liquids on the lunar surface.

Now that’s what I call thinking big.

I mean, imagine it. You shoot to the moon, determined to stay for a while and all you bring is an oxygen cracker to make your breathable air and a 3-D printer to create your facility.

Yeah, dudes, the future really is arriving. Now all we gotta do is get this off the drawing board and out in to the wild.

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