Here's a very important article that was sent to us by Mr. S.D., and I think the importance of it will be self-evident to most readers here, and our thanks to him for sharing it:
It seems that our Star Trek sort of analysis of the potentials of 3D printing, and its possible growth from the black technologies bureaucracies and budgets, may be being confirmed in a round-about way. Readers will recall that we've postulated here that 3D printing appears to be a tangible step in the technology tree leading to a kind of Star Trek replicator, and transporter-teleporter system. Many weeks ago I blogged about the inevitable next steps of 3D-printing: its use and application to the "manufacture" of organic materials, and unbeknownst to me at the time, this process was already underway. Now the internet abounds with stories of various organs being 3D printed, and in a few cases, actually made for surgical procedures and transplant in yet another step along the technology tree toward "Star Trek" like transporter capabilities: the ability to "teleport" organic life over long distances: download at one end, upload and print at another. We're a long way off, but yet, much closer now than when Gene Roddenberry first popularized the idea on his now famous television sci-fi series.
Another scenario we've discussed here is the use of 3D printing to "manufacture at a distance," i.e., to scan something at one end, or upload specifications for something at one end, and download at another. Now, let's exercise the imagination a little bit.
Suppose you took various spectrographic and chemical analyses of something at one end, scanned an object with this and other means of sensing, then sent all of this data to be 3D printed at another end, possibly for more detailed analysis.
Such a technique would tremendously expand your ability, using relatively cheap and off the shelf public technologies, to explore space, for with growing sophistication, it would not be necessary to physically transport such objects from space to Earth for further analysis; it could, via 3D printing and the requisite scanning and sensing technologies at the "exploration end", drammatically increase the ability of robotic probes to act as the eyes and ears of mankind remotely.
Well, it appears that this may be a scenario already in play on Mars:
Now, for followers of "strange things in Martian pictures," the implications here will be obvious: by replicating here on Earth objects on photographs that appear to be artificial or in some other respect anomalous, scientists can literally pick it up and examine it... so rest assured, this capability isn't being used to print ordinary rocks... what they're probably really looking at is the apparent "strange stuff" that seems to pop up in so many Martian pictures...
...so the game has been ratcheted up dramatically... Never A Straight Answer has entered a whole new phase.
See you on the flip side...