The Dawn Of Orbiting Manufacturing In 2020?

Will this be the year that manufacturing in microgravity in orbital factories really takes off? It's one of science fiction's enduring beliefs; here's what sf great Arthur C. Clarke had to say in his 1978 novel The Fountains of Paradise:

"...What is it?"

"The result of two hundred years of solid-state physics. For whatever good that does, it is a continuous pseudo-one dimensional diamond crystal - though it's not actually pure carbon. There are several trace elements in carefully controlled amounts. It can be mass-produced only in the orbiting factories, where there's no gravity to interfere with the growth process."

Of course, nobody has any idea whether this will be the year or not, although launches to near Earth orbit have been increasing in number, by both private firms and nations.

To further whet your appetite, however, take a look at this very slick video describing how microgravity will change how we make everything.


(More information about real orbiting factories)

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