As in many other fields, 3-D printing is the latest DIY obsession in space, with people looking to print everything from moon bases to astronaut meals. The 3D Rocket Engine Design Challenge asks competitors to envision an engine capable of sending a small payload, like a 10-kg nanosat, into orbit. Designers will work in an online environment called Sunglass and can collaborate with others around the world. The plan is to print the projects in a stainless steel 3-D printer, and the top three designs will share $10,000 in prizes. The competition will officially open at SXSW on Mar. 9.
The sponsors behind the 3-D rocket engine challenge, Sunglass and a company called DIYRockets, hope to spur innovative ideas for space travel and bring down manufacturing costs. Whether the contest will actually produce something or is just another buzzword-filled presentation at SXSW remains to be seen.