NASA has chosen two winning designs from K-12 students for a 3D printed container to help astronauts on the International Space Station keep things in order. The agency, in partnership with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Foundation, which managed the competition, declared the winners of the Future Engineers 3D Space Container Challenge. The winning designs focus on making life in space a little more comfortable for astronauts.
The 3D Space Container Challenge asked students to design models of containers that could be used in space. They could range from simple to more advanced containers, like for experiments that study fruit flies. Students across the US spent part of their summer using 3D modelling software to design containers that could be 3D printed, with the ultimate goal of advancing human space exploration on the International Space Station, Mars and beyond.
Ryan Beam of Scotts Valley, California, designed the winning container in the Teen Group (ages 13-19). Beam’s ClipCatch design will allow astronauts on the space station to clip their fingernails without worrying about the clippings floating away and potentially becoming harmful debris. Emily Takara from Cupertino, California, designed the winning container from the Junior Group (ages 5-12). Her design is a Flower Tea Cage, which uses the surface tension of liquids in a microgravity environment to allow astronauts to make tea. In space, liquids form spheres and adhere to things they touch. The 3D Space Container Challenge, which supports NASA’s In-space Manufacturing Initiative, is the second in a series of Future Engineers 3-D Printing challenges for students focused on designing solutions to real-world space exploration problems.