Facebook PixelSand melting, 3D-printing solar powered rovers
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Sand melting, 3D-printing solar powered rovers

Sand melting, 3D-printing solar powered rovers

Image credit: Markus Kayser

By Darko Savic on Oct 05, 2020

Juran K. a month ago
It´s really cool and I like it! I agree with Povilas, but there is not a lot of options on a desert planet. Toughened glass could be used as a building material (at least as filling blocks between solid construction), but also as an insulation from the heat (glazed glass units).
Udruga Mladih UMNO a month ago
I have had the same idea. It would be cool to insertinto mars rover a micro sand-glass brick factory and to make a building made of those bricks. It doesnt have to be fast.
Darko Savic a month ago
Agreed. Take a look at what they had in mind for the moon base https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pk9PWUGkz7o There is quite a lot of iteration to do before the rovers can operate at that level. Deserts are a perfect ground for practice
Povilas S 2 months ago
But glass is not a very practical material. It's practical only in a narrow niche of uses and it requires sophisticated processing to change its usual properties. I don't know enough about chemistry and physics of the process of sand melting, but if the final material has properties similar to regular glass, then it's not very useful. Maybe you can change the properties by regulating the parameters of the process, but you can't change the primary material - it's sand. You might be able to change the outcome by adding additional materials, but then you need to bring them from somewhere else and robots would need to carry containers of those materials with them, so it would no longer be so economical and ecological. The coolest use of this that comes to my mind is those robots driving around in Burning Man and making glass sculptures all over the place!
Shubhankar Kulkarni 2 months ago
Loved this idea! This idea can also be used to study Mars (starting with our Moon) and building infrastructure there. Mars soil composition is similar to that of Earth. It has high amount of silicon in it. I believe converting sand to glass is based on the fact that sand is composed of silicon. For now, such rovers/ robots can be built to study Mars in more detail. Later on, they can be used to build all kinds of necessary stuff.