The company has invested in Planetary Resources via its new venture arm, the aptly titled 3D System Ventures, although its spokespeople have thus far remained mum on the precise size of its contribution.
The new partnership between Planetary Resources and 3D Systems establishes a confluence between two of the 21st century’s most exciting, cutting edge areas of scientific and technological development – space mining and 3D printing.
In addition to its monetary investment 3D Systems will also be responsible for the fabrication of components for the ARKYD series space telescopes, which Planetary Resources hopes to launch into low orbit around the Earth in order scour the heavens for potential resource bounties.
Planetary Resources’ co-founder Peter Diamantis hailed the pivotal benefits that 3D Systems’ advanced manufacturing capabilities would bring to the company’s pioneering efforts to engage in offworld resource extraction.
“We are absolutely thrilled to partner with 3D Systems, the world’s pioneer and leader in 3D printing and advanced manufacturing, as we pursue our vision to expand the resource base beyond Earth,” Diamantis said in a statement.
“Our vision of mass producing the ARKYD 100, 200 and 300 line will greatly benefit from their thinking and technology.”
Planetary Resources was founded in 2009, and enjoys the backing of tech industry luminaries such as Google founder Larry Page and Microsoft veteran Charles Simonyi.
The company recently drew a flurry of media attention with its efforts to raise money for the ARKYD orbiting telescopes via a Kickstarter campaign, which sought money from the public in exchange for novel goods such as the opportunity to pick targets for ARKYD or access time using the devices for research purposes.
3D Systems is already involved in the space industry via Made in Space, a venture which seeks to perform additive manufacturing in a weightless environment.