Concept of the lunar base made with 3D printing.
Concept of the lunar base made with 3D printing.

 “Terrestrial 3D printing technology has produced entire structures,” said Laurent Pambaguian, heading the project for ESA.“Our industrial team investigated if it could similarly be employed to build a lunar habitat.”

Foster + Partners has devised a weight-bearing ‘catenary’ dome design with a cellular structured wall to shield against micrometeoroids and space radiation, incorporating a pressurised inflatable to shelter astronauts.

A 1.5 tonne building block made of lunar soil, mixed with magnesium oxide, has already been ‘printed’ to demonstrate its strength and lightweight qualities.

 “3D printing offers a potential means of facilitating lunar settlement with reduced logistics from Earth,” said Scott Hovland of ESA’s human spaceflight team.

“The new possibilities this work opens up can then be considered by international space agencies as part of the current development of a common exploration strategy.”

The ESA said that the design could allow for one building to be completed in a week.  

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