As most of you know, I've been following the story of 3-d Printing on this website, with an eye especially toward two aspects of the developing story (three aspects, if you count the fact that the mem of 3d printing appears to be the latest thing being pushed in the elite playbook): (1) the idea that 3d printing represents an attempt to retrench and revitalize North America as a decentralized manufacturing base, and (2) the idea that 3d printing comes ultimately out of the black projects world, and represents a technology with peculiar and huge implications for space programs.
Now there is this intriguing story (and my thanks to all the people who sent me this one):
Now, notice first the usual suspects: the meme of "we don't have anything but rockets," and "this will increase cost effectiveness":
"Currently spacecraft components are designed to be built on the ground and folded up to fit inside a rocket shroud. The process is complicated, expensive and limited by the availability and size of existing rockets.
"Hoyt added: 'This radically different approach to building space systems will enable us to create antennas and arrays that are tens-to-hundreds of times larger than are possible now, providing higher power, higher bandwidth, higher resolution, and higher sensitivity for a wide range of space missions.'
"The technology would allow NASA to use far smaller rockets to deliver components to the orbiting factory, which could be used to manufacture trusses to hold solar arrays and solar sails, antennas and masts of almost unlimited size. TUI's website suggests that kilometre-long trusses or football-field sized sails could be produced."
So why all this fuss over 3d printing and manufacturing in space? Oddly, the article begins with a mind-blowing statement, whose implications are quickly dissipated in the fog of rockets and cost effectiveness:
"NASA is developing an orbiting factory that will use 3D printing and robots to fabricate giant structures such as antennas and solar arrays of up to a kilometre in length, as part of its ongoing search for extra-terrestrial life."
We're gonna build structures in space a whole kilometer in length? Using robots and 3d printing? And all of this to look for extraterrestrial life? Is this kilometer long structure going to be some sort of super-telescope? Why not a linear particle accelerator?
Why not one of those big triangular UFO thingies that so many people say humans are incapable of building?
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I think what we are being told about 3d printing publicly is the tip of a very large black projects iceberg, and that the capabilities probably exceed what we already know, and perhaps dramatically so. And that raises the prospect and possibility that all those trillions of dollars and quadrillions in derivatives, and trillions in that hidden off-the-books system of finance and rehypothecated gold - not to mention collateralized asteroids - can buy you a heck of a lot of 3d printers, kilometer-long particle accelerators, and floating triangles...
See you on the flip side.