NASA awards $100,000 to initial analysis of 3D printing of biomaterials NASA has selected 3D printing of biomaterials, such as arrays of cells as one of the 12 proposals for study under Phase I of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program, which aims to turn science fiction into fact.Currently many complex, biologically-derived materials have extremely useful properties (think wood or silk), but are unsuitable for space-related applications due to production, manufacturing, or processing limitations.Cells in nature are already highly specialized for making complex biological materials on a micro scale. Researchers envision combining these strengths with the recently emergent technologies of synthetic biology and additive manufacturing to create 3D-structured arrays of cells that are bioengineered to secrete different materials in a specified three-dimensional pattern.Imagine being able to print anything from tools and composite building materials to food and human tissues. Imagine being on Mars with the ability to replace any broken part, whether it's a part of your spacesuit, your habitat, or your own body. We propose a technique that would allow just that. By printing 3D arrays of cells engineered to secrete the necessary materials, the abundant in situ resources of atmosphere and regolith become organic, inorganic, or organic-inorganic composite materials.