NASA’s free 3D model collection allows anyone to print spaceships and asteroids
Not many people realize that in addition to its scientific data and press releases, NASA also shares a substantial amount of free resources on its website: e-books, children’s material, podcasts, etc. For those who own a 3D printer, the space agency also offers an extensive collection of 3D printing ready models of its most popular spaceships, asteroids, craters and more.
The internet is full of free 3D models to print, but it’s not easy to find lifelike replicas of NASA’s various spacecraft and the many celestial bodies it has observed. If you want to print your own miniature version of the Hubble Space Telescope, Curiosity rover, CubeSats, Cassini, or a number of other spacecraft and satellites, check out NASA 3D Model Library.
Anyone can download the files for these objects, which are offered in STL format. You can easily put the files into Cura or any software of your choice to turn them into printable files for your particular printer model. After that, just calibrate your 3D printer, plug in the flash drive with the files and wait for the objects to print.
Depending on what you download, you may end up printing multiple parts for the model, which you will then need to assemble yourself. Other models are simpler, but no less detailed objects that come in one piece – there are topographic models of things like Gale Crater that can be printed, painted, and mounted on a wall as decorations, for example.
The files are free to download. The NASA website includes a 3D viewer so you can view the models before uploading to make sure that’s what you’re looking for. The viewer includes wireframe, solid, and surface angle display options. There are currently 113 printable models available in the NASA Library.