Technology is advancing at rapid rates, thanks to increasing capabilities of computers, the ability to share knowledge via the internet, and the growing adoption rate of robotic driven technologies such as 3D printing. The culmination of these advancements has led to exploration outside of the Earth’s atmosphere.
This idea has led a group of researchers at MarsWithoutBorders (MWOB) to begin testing the feasibility of 3D printing surgical tools for telesurgery on Mars. The project, led by the Founder of MWOB, and Commander of MWOB Expedition One Crew 145, Susan Ip Jewell, MD, and MWOB Crew Engineer, Matteo K. Borri took place in a Mars Analog Simulation at Mars Desert Research Station situated in a remote desert location in Utah.
In December 2014, the MWOB team (Crew 145), led by Dr. Susan Jewell (Principal Investigator), successfully tested the viability, feasibility, and utility of 3D printing at the Mars Desert Research Station. The study involved integrating 3D technology — including 3D printing — in training non-medical crew in simulated surgical procedures using tools created by 3D, driven by the solar-powered system created by Matteo Borri, who also happens to be the founder of Robots Everywhere.
The ability to email a tool to astronauts or even settlers of another planet will cut costs, and minimize payloads for long missions. Fabrication of emergency surgical equipment on demand will help ensure safety of crew members and potential settlers of destinations such as Mars.