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.

The team from the Chinese Academy of Sciences used a reduced-gravity plane to test the technology. (Picture: Xinhua)

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.

One of the ceramic samples produced by the team in microgravity. (Picture: Xinhua)

"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.