Do you like to make predictions? How about predicting what'll be the next hot technology?
If you had to bet money on which new tech you'll be hearing about most in 2016, you'd be safe saying, "3-D printers." We've told you about 3-D printed cars, 3-D printers for kids and 3-D technology that might save your life.
Now, there's a 3-D gadget (actually, an awesome, explosive gadget) that may propel your kids or grandchildren to outer space in the near future. NASA has built a complete rocket engine made with 75% 3-D parts. It's nothing short of incredible.
Its 3-D printed engine generates 20,000 pounds of thrust using cryogenic liquid hydrogen and oxygen, which NASA says are "mainstays of spaceship propulsion systems." NASA tested the engines seven times at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Each test lasted 10 seconds or less.
"The 3-D printed demonstrator engine experienced all the extreme environments inside a flight rocket engine where fuel is burned at greater than 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit," according to NASA.
NASA says it has tested rocket parts, using 3-D printed technology, including turbopumps, injectors and valves. They've been testing 3-D parts alone, and together, for about three years.
NASA, like other users of 3-D printing (which NASA calls "additive technology"), says it is less costly to test 3-D printed parts than to build models using traditional materials.
NASA's future plans include testing 3-D engines that use liquid oxygen and methane. These are propellants that can be produced on Mars, according to NASA.
NASA's 3-D printed rocket from the perspective of a GoPro camera.
NASA's 3-D printed engine test from a drone's perspective.