RKF Space Printer. Image credit: RKF Engineering Solutions

Rovers capable of imprinting the Moon and Mars landscape with customized words and pictures is a new line of business being offered by RKF Engineering of Bethesda, Maryland.

The idea has garnered a U.S. patent earlier this year, according to the group, cited as RKF Engineering patent US 18/100,141.

For example, once the made to order imprint is emblazoned on lunar terrain, the wheeled printers can then photograph the images against an Earthrise glowing over a lunar horizon. 

“The RKF patent protects against any competition that draws imagery on a celestial body and is not reliant on a specific printer or rover design,” adds a company statement.

Apollo 11 footprint on the Moon.
Image credit: NASA

Tangible, lasting product

“RKF is thrilled to announce our space printer patent, and I can’t wait to see the first imagery drawn on the Moon and Mars,” says Jeffrey Freedman, RKF’s Chief Technical Officer.

RKF explains that Moon-emplaced imagery can survive millions of years, “immortalizing consumers’ words and likenesses.”

In April 1972, Apollo 16’s Charlie Duke left a family picture on the lunar surface.
Image credit: Charlie Duke/NASA

“Images can be anything from portraits to eternal love letters, words of wisdom, epitaphs of loved ones who passed, or even advertisements. The options are limitless,” RKF reports. “Once in place, a lunar rover printer can stamp and photograph millions of unique images and text messages over its operating life.”

According to the RKF statement, unlike plopping down big dollars for space tourism, “which is too expensive and impractical for most people, space printing will be affordable and provide a tangible, lasting product.”

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