September 3rd, 2014
A base on the moon would be nice, but how to transport all the heavy building material through space? The European Space Agency (ESA) may have found another way to do it. They are investigating the possibility of 3D printing the building. It seems to work.
A 3D printer is relatively light and can use lunar rocks as building material. That’s why ESA thinks it’s a good option to use a printer in space. “On earth 3D printing technology has already produced entire structures”, explains Laurent Pambaguian from ESA.
Architects Foster + Partners designed the moon base as a dome design that protects against micrometeoroids and space radiation and provides a pressurised inflatable to shelter astronauts.
As a demonstration this 1,5 tonne building block was printed using lunar soil. The printer currently builds at a rate of around 2 m per hour and the next-generation design even at 3.5 m per hour. So it could complete an entire building in a week. The technology can be used by as a common space exploration strategy, ESA predicts.
It you’re interested in other fascinating possibilities of 3D-printing, here’s how people are printing working guns.
Source and photo: ESA
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