US-based asteroid mining company Planetary Resources along with 3D Systems, has unveiled the first direct metal print using material from asteroids or meteorites, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

3D Systems’ ProX DMP 320 metal 3D printer crushed, powdered and processed an asteroid, which was sourced earlier, to build the new object.

This was the first 3D printed material from outer space that would be similar to a design created by a 3D printer in a zero-gravity space environment.

The asteroid used for the print materials was taken from a meteorite, which hit Campo Del Cielo near Argentina in prehistoric times, and has iron, nickel and cobalt in it, that are used for making refinery grade steel.

Planetary Resources CEO Chris Lewicki was quoted by Engadget saying: "Instead of manufacturing something in an Earth factory and putting it on a rocket and shipping it to space, what if we put a 3D printer into space and everything we printed with it we got from space?"

"3D Systems’ ProX DMP 320 metal 3D printer crushed, powdered and processed an asteroid."

"There are billions and billions of tons of this material in space.

"Everyone has probably seen an iron meteorite in a museum.

"Now we have the tech to take that material and print it in a metal printer using high-energy laser.

"Imagine if we could do that in space."

During the process of turning the meteorite into a new spacecraft prototype, Planetary Resources used a plasma that converted the meteorite into a cloud, which milled metallic powder. Metallic powder is extractable through a vacuum system.

Lewicki said: "It condenses like rain out of a cloud, but instead of raining water, you are raining titanium pellets out of an iron nickel cloud.

"We are in the iron age of building in space, quite literally."