Stratasys, Ltd. (SSYS), 3D Systems Corporation (DDD), Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (ISRG): 3 Technologies for Elon Musk’s Trip to Mars

Page 1 of 2

How long will it be before humans call Mars home? Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Late last year, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk gave a speech at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London that laid out his vision for a Mars colony with 80,000 human inhabitants. Musk estimated the cost for the colony at $36 billion, but don’t get too excited yet. There is no way to accurately gauge the price tag of what would be arguably the most ambitious endeavor ever undertaken by mankind, especially since a good amount of the technology needed to sustain life on the Red Planet is still being invented or conjured up. If we made a list of three of the most important technologies needed for such a colony that you could invest in today, what would it look like?  

1. Long-distance robotic surgery

It is obvious that some of the 80,000 inhabitants in the Mars colony would be qualified medical professionals. But let’s be honest; a lot of things can go wrong with the human body, and specialization is rampant in the medical community. There will almost certainly be a need for doctors back on Earth to communicate with ailing colonists — and even perform surgery from 140 million miles away.

It may look intimidating, but robotic surgery could save your life. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

We’re in luck. Intuitive Surgical, Inc. (NASDAQ:ISRG) has invented the da Vinci Surgical System, a robotic surgery platform that allows doctors to perform invasive procedures without getting their hands dirty. Meanwhile, MAKO Surgical Corp. (NASDAQ:MAKO) has invented the RIO system for performing various medical procedures. Despite da Vinci being used in more than 1,300 hospitals and RIO expected to perform as many as 14,500 procedures here on Earth, robotic surgery hasn’t had such a smooth ride. Some doctors question the cost-effectiveness (a single da Vinci costs $1.5 million) and advantages of such systems. Fair points, but the technology will be very necessary for a Mars colony.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, has been a key funder of robotic surgery in the last decade. While its focus remains on treating wounded soldiers in the battlefield, the agency is developing the technology needed for long-distance surgery. Astonishingly, the agency is investing in technology that would allow a doctor to “upload” a patient, perform a virtual procedure, edit out the mistakes, and send it to the robotic system to perform the perfect procedure on the patient. One day it hopes doctors at a centralized location will be able treat wounded soldiers throughout a warzone that cannot be airlifted to a field hospital in time. Insert “Earth” and “Mars” and the potential becomes clear.

2. 3-D printing (duh)

It won’t be cost effective to bring a warehouse of spare parts with us to Mars, so we’ll have to set up a manufacturing base once we get there. Stratasys, Ltd. (NASDAQ:SSYS) and 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD) figure to play a big part in any interplanetary 3-D printing capabilities established in the next few decades. Both companies are on the ground level of disrupting a wide range of industries, including everything from health care to industrials. 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD) even took the first steps to leave Earth by penning a deal with Planetary Resources to create spacecraft parts, which could one day be used to mine asteroids.

What functionalities would Mars-bound 3-D printing systems need? Aside from printing parts or replacement parts for broken rovers and colony machines, we may turn to additive manufacturing for printing everything from food to medicine. Storage space will undoubtedly be limited, and it will be impossible to bring all pharmaceuticals and nutritional supplements needed to sustain a community of 80,000 people.

If current resupply contracts to the International Space Station are any indication of the future, investors in Stratasys, Ltd. (NASDAQ:SSYS) and 3D Systems Corporation (NYSE:DDD) could be in for a treat, albeit several decades from now. Orbital Sciences has captured NASA contracts worth $1.9 billion, while SpaceX — the company likely to get humans to Mars — has landed contracts worth $1.6 billion. Could a similar bounty be in store for the 3-D printing leaders?

Page 1 of 2
blog comments powered by Disqus
Insider Monkey Headlines
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy

Insider Monkey beat the market by 52 percentage points in 24 months Click to see monthly returns in table format!

Lists

The Top 10 States With Fastest Internet Speeds

10 Best Places to Visit in USA in August

Top 10 Cities to Visit Before You Die

Top 10 Genetically Modified Food In the US

15 Highest Grossing Movies Opening Weekend

5 Best Poker Books For Beginners

10 Strategies Hedge Funds Use to Make Huge Returns

Top 10 Fast Food Franchises to Buy

10 Best Places to Visit in Canada

Best Summer Jobs for Teachers

10 Youngest Hedge Fund Billionaires

Top 10 One Hit Wonders of the 90s

Fastest Growing Cities In America

Top 10 U.S. Cities for Freelancers

Top 9 Most Popular Free iPhone Apps

Top 10 Least Expensive Private Business Schools in the US

Top 15 Most Expensive Countries in the World – 2014

Top Businesses to Invest In

Top 5 Things You Might Be Doing Wrong With Your Business

Top 5 Strategic Technology Trends in 2014

Top Rags to Riches Stories

Parenting Behavior That Promotes Future Leaders

Top 5 Mistakes Made by Small Businesses

Top 5 Most Common and Potentially Devastating Financial Blunders

Top 5 Highest Paying Jobs for Web Designers

Top 6 Most Respected Professions that Also Pay Well

Top 5 Pitfalls Investors Should Avoid

Top 6 Lawyers and Policy Makers Under 30

Top 6 New Year’s Resolutions for Entrepreneurs

Top 7 Locations to Check in on Facebook

Top 5 Mistakes made by Rookie eBay Sellers

Top 7 eBook Publishers in 2013

Top 6 Health Industry Trends in 2014

5 Lessons for Entrepreneurs from Seth Godin

Top 5 Success Tips from Jordan Belfort – the Wolf of Wall Street

Best Master’s in Finance Degree Programs

Top 6 Earning Celebrities Over 50

The most expensive sports to play

Top 7 Earning Celebrities Under 25

Best 7 Online Courses to Take: Free Finance MOOCs

Top 6 Bad Habits that Promote Failure

20 Most Valuable Soccer Teams in the World in 2013

12 Most Expensive Countries for Foreign Students

Top 30 Most Influential Women in the World

Top 20 Most Expensive New Year Eve Shows

Top 5 Best Vocational Careers

Top 10 Jobs for 2014 by Salary Gain (Predictions)

Top 5 Digital Trends for 2014

Top 6 Things You Can Do To Increase Your Productivity

Top 9 Trending Smartphones in 2013

Subscribe

Enter your email:

Delivered by FeedBurner

X

Thanks! An email with instructions is sent to !

Your email already exists in our database. Click here to go to your subscriptions

Insider Monkey returned 47.6% in its first year! Wondering How?

Download a complete edition of our newsletter for free!