This article originally appeared on ABACUS 3D printing on Earth is an achievement in and of itself -- but Chinese researchers have taken it a step further, claiming to have developed a technique to 3D print in space. A team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences solved the cool technical challenge -- known as ceramic manufacturing under microgravity -- aboard a reduced-gravity plane over Switzerland. Put simply, they used ceramic materials in lieu of lunar dust -- the material they would use in space -- and developed a way to mix the powder to form a paste. The most ambitious application of the technology could be to build bases on the Moon or even Mars -- although in the short term it’s more likely to be used to build parts for things like telescopes. "Elon Musk and SpaceX are developing technologies to take people to other planets, and we are developing technologies to help them survive," the team’s director told Xinhua. This company is promising a 3D-printed car for under $10,000 For more insights into China tech, sign up for our tech newsletters , subscribe to our Inside China Tech podcast , and download the comprehensive 2019 China Internet Report . Also roam China Tech City , an award-winning interactive digital map at our sister site Abacus .