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To understand why Mason Peck, NASA’s chief technologist, was at World Maker Faire New York 2013 (his second Maker Faire), just look and listen to the level of activity behind him in the video above: that energy and enthusiasm is what Peck, and NASA, wants to capture for the US space program.

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NASA Chief Technologist Mason Peck

Specifically, NASA is interested in attracting makers to their recently-issued Grand Challenge focused on asteroid research and planetary defense. In Peck’s talk, below, he outlines why the agency wants citizen scientists to focus on this challenge.

This is not just feel good, public relations. NASA wants you!

Peck was also at Maker Faire to encourage participation in NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative. The barriers for getting a project into space are lower than they’ve ever been, and Peck wants makers to take advantage of the opportunity.

Peck, who’s father was a science fiction writer, also clearly enjoys speculating where space exploration could take us — in the next few years, and way off in the distant future.

One promising possibility, Peck predicts, will be fabrication in space using 3D printing. By using raw materials available in space, future explorations would not have to launch heavy equipment and building supplies from earth: 3D printers could create structures using material found on the moon, Mars, or on asteroids.

Something to think about as you are waiting for that two-inch sprocket to print on your current state-of-the-art consumer 3D printer.

An artist’s rendition of Montana State University’s Explorer-1 [Prime] CubeSat. Source: Montana State University, Space Science and Engineering Laboratory.
Watch Peck’s entire inspiring talk on the Maker Faire Innovation Stage here:

Meanwhile, check out our space themed gift guide.

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DC Denison is the editor of The Maker Pro Newsletter, which covers the intersection of makers and business. That means hardware startups, new products, and market trends.

The former technology editor of The Boston Globe, DC is also interested in ebook experimentation and content management systems.

One of the places where can be found online is Google+ (which I'm adding here only because I want to see if by adding "rel=author" and "rel=me" to those two links I can get Google to display my picture in its search results.)

Hey, it works!

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