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Innovation
The Ames Laboratory and Iowa State University have partnered together to create a new method to print metal traces of softer materials. The researchers were able to recreate this method multiple times on jello and even on delicate materials like rose petals.

Through undercooled metal technology, the Engineers were able to create this monumental step forward in 3D printing by using microscopic oxide shells that trap the liquid metal below its melting point. In order to fill these infinitesimally small shells, which are only about 10 microns in diameter, the researchers used a tungsten microprobe. When cracked, by ether dissolving them with chemicals or using mechanical pressure, the metal trickles out and solidifies, creating a line of conductive metal.

The metal used inside these tiny capsules is a Field’s Alloy composed of bismuth, indium, and tin. Through vigorous testing, the researchers found that these capsule have been able to create a conductive line on almost everything, from a hard slab of concrete to a small delicate leaf.

The research team believes that this technology could have some astonishing applications in the future, like sensors that monitor crops performance, building integrity or even medical conditions. Some recent tests made by the team of engineers include a remote control created on a piece of paper, electrical contacts for solar cells and a successfully printing on a model of a human brain. Elon Musk’s latest venture, Neuralink, may have some competition when it comes to its brain sewing machine.

What originally began as a teaching exercise three years ago has grown into a fully fledged project, with researchers eagerly trying to figure out the limits of this technology and what to print it on next. Their next big tests they’re planning to print on are ice cubes and biological tissues, with he later hopefully being less crucial tissue.

Wanna learn more about the latest in 3D printing? Find out how S-Squared 3D printers 3D printed a 500 square foot house using additive construction.

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Innovation
On July 20, 1969 Apollo 11 landed on the moon in the Sea of Tranquility. The moon landing was a giant leap for mankind and those small steps Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took so far away from home are still there fifty years later imprinted on its surface. The astronauts’ venture in the unknown world that looms in our sky lasted 21 hours, however they only spent two and a half of those hours exploring the surface. Leaving behind the descent stage of the lunar module, they left the surface in the ascent stage.


Almost ten years ago, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter flew 15 miles above the moon’s surface, gathering data and capturing images of various locations, including the Sea of Tranquility. In the images that NASA released of the landing site, the lunar module’s abandoned descent stage and the foot prints of the astronauts were still visible.

The abandoned descent stage wasn’t the only thing visible in the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter photos. If you follow one of the tracks left behind, you can see the Passive Seismic Experiment Package, an instrument used to measure and return seismic data of the moon back to earth. It only functioned for three week after the moon landing. Another instrument still visible that was left behind on the moon is the Laser Ranging RetroReflector which was used to get precise measurements between the earth and the moon. Unlike the Passive Seismic Experiment Package, the Laser Ranging RetroReflector is still operation today. 

The second visible set of tracks stretches out to a little crater to the right of the lunar module. This second trail was a spontaneous expedition made by Armstrong to the Little West Crater. Traveling about 50 meters from the lunar module, this was the farthest that either of the two adventured on the surface. 

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter entered orbit around the moon of June 23 of 2009. It was sent there to help determine future landing sites for lunar missions. While orbiting the surface, the spacecraft was tasked with looking for promising high scientific value resources, suitable and advantageous terrain and a habitable environment for both robots and humans. Another task the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter was given was photographing all of the Apollo landing sites including the carious locations where ejected modules struck the surface.

Due to the various instruments on board, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is able to return a vast range of data including Ultraviolet albedo, global geodetic grid, day-night temperatures and high resolution photos. Scientist at NASA have placed an emphasis on scouting the moon’s polar regions. The lunar south pole may have occurrences of ice in some of the craters due to permanent darkness and inversely the lunar north pole’s uninterrupted access to sunlight would be beneficial from human  and robots alike. All the data obtained by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter has been upload to a public repository of planetary data called the Planetary Data System.

Since the moon lacks any form of atmosphere, there is very little to no erosion on it. That means that as long as a meteor doesn’t strike the landing site, the footprints and data collection equipment left behind by the astronauts could end up staying there, untouched for a very long time. The Apollo 11 landing site might one day become a great tourist attraction for any future moon base inhabitants 

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Innovation
The Apollo program and the moon landing is one of man’s greatest feats in history. It took a lot man power and innovation to reach it, but what people often forget is just how our expedition to the stars impacted us on the surface. Many consumer or medical products got their start from scientist or engineers in the Apollo Program. Here is a list of some of the products we owe to the Apollo Program


Athletic Shoes

Most running shoes today feature some sort of air compression system to enhance comfort and efficiency. This air compression technology first appeared on the market in the 1980s when a shoe company called Avia partnered with Al Gross, an aerospace engineer that work on the design of the spacesuits for the Apollo Program. Due to bellows in the joints, the spacesuits were able expand and compress when the wearer moves, allowing the designer to manipulate the amount of flexibility in the suit. Gross helped modify this idea for Avia’s shoes. They added a pressurized shell to the sole of the shoe which they called a “compression chamber”.  Borrowing the bellows from the spacesuits, the shoe’s compression chamber has rows of horizontal bellows to supply cushioning and columns of vertical bellows to provide stability. Similar cushioning technology is found in most shoe brands today.

Cordless Power Tools

The first cordless power tool was revealed in 1961 by Black & Decker, however it wasn’t until the Apollo program where cordless power tools really started to the shape. NASA had begun to work with Black & Decker to design and develop lightweight, cordless power tools for use in space. Some of the innovations that emerged from this partnership included a rotary hammer drill, a zero impact wrench, most of today’s electric drills and screwdrivers, battery powered precision medical instruments and a handheld vacuum cleaner called the Dustbuster

Dialysis

One particular Apollo project would eventually lead to a huge innovation in dialysis treatment. That project was to find a way to purify water for space missions. A chemical process was soon discovered by Marquardt Corporation to solve this problem, and they quickly realized it could be appealed to dialysis fluid to increase efficiency. The company went on to create a dialysis machine that uses sorbent dialysis. In sorbent dialysis, instead of disposing of the dialysis solutions after removing urea from human blood, the solution is purified and put back into the machine. Sorbent Dialysis helps limit waste, improve energy efficiency and provide more freedom of movement to dialysis patients.

Digital Image Processing

Before the Apollo Program began, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory was working on digital image processing to enlarge and enhance photos of the moons. Since then digital image processing has been incorporated into many different space programs and other industries. NASA’s work in this field lead to many advancement in medical imagery like MRIs and CAT scans.

Fire-Resistant Clothing

In 1967, three people died due to a fire on the lunched of Apollo 1. After that NASA set out to create fire-resistant materials for their spacesuits and vehicles. The Monsanto Company delivered a suit that was coated with Durette, a chemically treated fabric. These fire resistant materials and the breathing apparatus designed for the spacesuits were the basis for the safety material used by soldiers and firefighters 

Insulation

One problem the Apollo program had, was trying to find a lightweight material for the landing modules that could also shelter astronauts and equipment from heat and infrared radiation. They eventually settled on a plastic, vacuum-metalized foil laid over a core of propylene or mylar. This insulating material was not only perfect for use in space but also had a variety of different applications back on earth like food packaging, safety blankets, photographic reflectors and insulation for modern homes.

Memory Foam

In 1966, NASA contracted Charles A. Yost, an aeronautical engineer at Systems Dynamics Group to come up with a method to increase the likelihood of pilots and passengers surviving crashes. He ended up creating a polymeric foam material to line the seating of the spacecraft. This open-celled material was capable of absorbing high energy shocks and vibrations while not sacrificing malleability and softness. Many people know this foam as memory foam and is available commercially in many high end pillows.

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Press Releases
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Enser’s extensive experience as a leading engineering services company uniquely positions us to provide the best and most cost-effective solution. Our service is that of complete custom turnkey engineering services. We offer engineering staffing, turnkey manufacturing solutions, design and FEA analysis. With over 70 years of industry experience offering engineering and project management solutions, we confidently support your programs and requirements with professionals from our Engineering and Technology Development Centers. For more information on how we can help you, click here. do not hesitate to call us at (877) 367-3770

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