Okay not really, but they did install their first 3D printer. If you recall the replicator of Star Trek days you know that it held a bunch of patterns (trillions) and an impossible amount of materials such as iron, copper and meta-materials.
Well, now the ISS is capable of printing up spare parts in their low gravity environment – pretty cool, no?
This is only the first phase of printing. It is an experiment where they will print various things on the ISS that were printed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center here on Earth using the exact same 3D-printer. Then that printed copy will be sent back to Earth and compared and engineers/programmers whatever is needed will tend to those differences and the next generation commercial printer that will be sent up sometime in 2015. Think about it. A piece of equipment breaks down; normally they would have to wait anywhere up to several months or longer depending how much the part weighs, how much space it takes up, waiting for a place on the packing lists to free up so that it can be sent up and then the necessary repairs made.
Well say goodbye to the long delay. Now either a temporary fix or permanent one can be reached by Earth beaming up the program to print the item rather.
Do you see where this is all going? A spaceship leaves Earth and is rambling about the Universe. They breakdown. This may have been a problem back in the 1900’s but in 2015 plus? Not at all.