Regenerative medicine and 3D bioprinting for human space exploration and planet colonisation
3D printing also known as additive manufacturing (AM) is seen as one of the key enabling technologies for a large number of high-end industrial sectors including the automotive, aerospace and medical industry. Recent advances and breakthroughs in the last years have enabled 3D printing of biocompatible materials, cells and supporting components into complex 3D functional living tissues. 3D bioprinting is being applied to regenerative medicine, addressing the need for tissues and organs suitable for transplantation. Bioprinting implies additional complexities related to the sensitivities of living cells such as printing parameters and conditions, material selection, cell types etc. Despite these challenges, beating artificial heart cells, cartilage implants, skin repairs, functional kidney tissues have been printed successfully on Earth. The present paper addresses the possibility of performing regenerative medicine in space, which may guarantee sustainable life support on long term/long distance planetary exploration missions, opening to stable planet colonisation.