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Need to repair a NASA spacecraft? Just 3D print itEngineers at NASA Ames Research Center have begun experimenting with 3D printers for some spacecraft design. CNET's Sumi Das visits one of its newly open workshops -- filled with state of the art equipment.
-Building a spacecraft is tricky work. After all, it is rocket science. To help with the design process NASA is borrowing from a popular tech trend. -Space shop is our attempt to take the best practices and lessons learned from what we call the maker community. Trying to take that spirit of entrepreneurship and bringing into NASA. -Space shop is a newly opened workshop for engineers that NASA aims research center filled with state of the art equipment -There's a laser cutter for sheet metal and wood allows us to rapidly cut very complex geometric shapes. We've got the traditional drill presses and band saws and all the other things you would expect and kind of a high school class machine shop. -And a few things you wouldn't expect like these 3D printers which engineers can use to improve their designs. -In being on a television or computer monitor is one thing, but seeing it in real life and seeing how it is put together really can be highly impactful to the design and help us make it better, cheaper, and more efficient than you otherwise would. -The tech holds so much potential that NASA has commissioned a company to build a 3D printer that can be launched into space. -If you're going to explore Mars, or work on station, or just go somewhere far out on the planet earth, you need to bring your own materials, then you will create a sustainable method of constructing a new habitat. -A brave new world where you can just print what you need, when you need it. In Mountain View, California, I'm [unk] CNET.com for CBS News.