NASA’s 3D model database lets you download and print the New Horizons Pluto probe, and many more historical conceptions of past missions.
NASA’s New Horizons space probe has finally reached Pluto after nine and a half years. It sent the first high-resolution images from the surface of the last unexplored (former) planet have arrived back to Earth. Now you can participate in this exciting event by 3D printing your own New Horizons probe, along with many other official NASA 3D models.
The 3D model of the “New Horizons” probe, which has travelled about 3 billion miles in space to reach Pluto, is available in *.stl file format. You can download the New Horizons 3D model and print it to celebrate their latest achievement by holding a scaled model in your hands.
NASA is well aware of the developments in 3D printing and is actively seeking for the best possible ways to take advantage of this emerging technology. They provide their astronauts with the means to print models and parts in space. The agency has even held an online design contest for 3D printable buildings suitable for Martian bases.
New Horizons in 3D Printing
That said, it is no wonder that NASA has opened a new 3D objects database web page. Users can visit and download several model files. There you can find many historically important probes, shuttles, rockets, astronaut suits and even concept designs.
New Horizons is a low-consumption (228 watts) probe that is powered by a Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (RTG). It uses 10.9 kg of plutonium-238 pellets. . Those pellets are supposed to decay at a rate of 5% for every four years, and thus the probe is expected to hopefully continue to the Kuiper belt up until 2026. By this point, the model you will have printed now will be ten years old!
If the RTG lasts longer than that, we may get the first ever data from the outer heliosphere: that would make for some very interesting 3D printing.
License: The text of "New Horizons Pluto 3D Model Available for Free" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.