Mar 23, 2016 | By Alec

While 3D printing is truly revolutionary right here on earth, try to imagine it in space. Well, you don’t even have to imagine it, as Made In Space (MIS) has just launched a zero gravity 3D printer into space, enabling ISS astronauts to 3D print parts aboard the space station. It’s a remarkable and educational tool that is certainly an important step towards on-demand production during lengthy space missions. As a tribute to that tremendous potential, UK-based SEO search engine Majestic has announced that they will be working with Made In Space to make a 3D printed work of art representing the entirety of the internet – and will do so in space.

If you run your own website, you’ll probably have come across Majestic before. A very ambitious and “Deloitte 50” fastest growing UK company, they are essentially an SEO search engine. They interpret the hubs, connections and networks that together make the worldwide web, and make that data available to website developers, media specialists and online marketing experts to optimize traffic and analyze competitors. Analyzing about 3 billion pages per day, they are one of the most significant web data experts open to the public.

As they have just revealed, they are eager to turn that data into more tangible works of art as well. And is there a 3D printer developer more remarkable than Made In Space? Founded in 2010 as the world’s first space manufacturing specialist, they have been explicitly focusing on making 3D printing viable in space. They were contacted by NASA to design and build the 3D Printing in Zero-G Experiment (3D Print) on the ISS, and became the first company to successfully manufacture parts off-Earth. While a very complex machine, they have essentially developed a 3D printer packed with special fans, heaters and extrusion units that compensate for the widely different temperature zones, air pressure and zero gravity. It also 3D printed a high grade, flame-retardant plastic. A cargo ship with supplies and science experiments for the International Space Station crew blasted off on Tuesday night, carrying a 3D printer to build tools for astronauts and non-stick grippers modeled after gecko feet. The 3D printer was launched into space from Cape Canaveral in Florida, and will reach the ISS in a few days – about 250 miles above us.

Majestic was obviously ‘over the moon’ to be working with Made In Space, and over the next few weeks they will be relying on the zero gravity machine to 3D print what they call a ‘Majestic Landscape’: a 3D visualization of data. While they have previously released a Majestic Landscape tool that can create a 3D printable visualization of your own website a year ago, they will now be doing a 3D print representing the entirety of the internet. “No one has ever recreated the Internet before in a physical form, let alone 3D print it in space! The data behind the 3D visualization lies in Majestic’s unique ability to crawl the internet on a massive scale and tell which websites and pages are the most trustworthy across the web. This will be one of the first commercial business transactions to ever be completed in space,” they say about this remarkable project.

As Dixon Jones from Majestic explains, huge symbolic links can be seen between the web and the vast emptiness of space. “Space has a huge symbolic significance for our team at Majestic. Like the Internet, space is vast – possibly infinite. Like the Internet, we are able to see and experience some of space, but much of it awaits to be discovered. This #MajesticInSpace project puts into perspective, not just the huge potential for Majestic to help businesses understand how to be more successful online, but sets in motion that idea that space is far from the final frontier of human and business potential,” he explains.

So how do they build a 3D printable model of the internet? In a nutshell, they simply take the data from Majestic’s search engine – which assigns mathematical scores to every link on the web, enabling users to see how their site is linked to other websites and how they compare to competitors. “As a website generates links, it generates form. A life of its own. Every link profile is made up of thousands – or in Google’s case billions of links. Each link has its own Trust Flow and Citation Flow. These are all plotted on a 101 X 101 grid, and every time we see two links of the same value, the hill starts to form. Many links are worthless… these represent the top of the landscape. Others are strong, which are seen in the foothills,” they explain.

A visual representation of Google's Link DNA.

The Majestic Landscapes tool thus essentially transforms that existing data (which can be a 2D visualization) into a 3D printable 3D model. It’s a very fun and remarkable tool that has been developed together with designer and digital artist Brendan Dawes to help create tangible models of digital data. While they have previously done so for single websites (check out Google above), they are now thus tackling the internet in its entirety – and will be using the most remarkable 3D printer ever to do so. We can’t wait to see the results.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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