3D printing has been used in the medical industry before, where we have seen the tech used to 3D print cartilage and skull implants. Now it seems that Russian researcher Oleg Kononenko has successfully managed to 3D print living tissue, but here’s the kicker: not only is Kononenko a researcher, but he is a cosmonaut as well, and this 3D printing was actually done in space.
Using a 3D printer created by medical company Invitro, Kononenko was successful in 3D printing human cartilage tissue and a roden thyroid gland. Like we said, 3D printing of human cartilage has been done before, but the goal of this experiment was to see how microgravity in space can affect the development of living tissues and organs, especially if there are plans for more human space travel in the future, and if we are planning to eventually one day move to Mars.
This experiment was supposed to have been started back in October, but unfortunately the Soyuz MS-10 spacecraft that carried the bioprinter suffered from a booster failure, forcing the crew to abort the mission. The cosmonauts on board managed to escape without incident, but unfortunately the bioprinter was damaged.
NASA is expected to begin conducting their own bioprinting efforts in space starting in 2019, but for now it seems that Russia has managed to claim the title of “first”.