Were you like me and glued to your computer for the “7 minutes of terror” landing of the Mars rover Perseverance on February 18th? Engineering things like a supersonic parachute, sky crane and an onboard helicopter to work remotely after a journey of millions of miles is mind boggling. However, 3D printing is on Mars too! You can read in a NASA article about how there are 11 3D printed parts on the rover.
Of the 11 printed parts going to Mars, five are in Perseverance’s PIXL instrument. Short for the Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry, the lunchbox-size device will help the rover seek out signs of fossilized microbial life by shooting X-ray beams at rock surfaces to analyze them.
Perseverance’s six other 3D-printed parts can be found in an instrument called the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment, or MOXIE. This device will test technology that, in the future, could produce industrial quantities of oxygen to create rocket propellant on Mars, helping astronauts launch back to Earth.https://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/nasas-perseverance-rover-bringing-3d-printed-metal-parts-to-mars
Also, in a fun little touch, NASA has made a STL file of the rover available for download, so go ahead and 3D print your own!