On June 6, Asgardia’s Head of Nation Dr. Igor Ashurbeyli visited a subdivision of the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. ESTEC is an incubator for space activities – most ESA projects are born and developed here
Dr. Ashurbeyli met with Tommaso Ghidini, Head of ESA’s Structures, Mechanisms and Materials Division, and one of the contributing authors to Asgardia’s Room: The Space Journal. Dr. Ghidini’s research covers building bases on the Moon and on Mars, and using 3D printing on the basis of materials that already exist on those celestial bodies. Thus, if the experiments are successful, the only equipment needed to build a defensive shield for the lunar bases will be a 3D printer, and local materials will be sourced for printing.
“Suppose you want to go to the Moon today, and you want to go there to build a Moon base,” said Ghidini during a 2018 TEDx ESA talk. “Unless you do something completely different. You send a 3D printer to the Moon, and uses the dust that is already on the Moon. This sounds a bit like a science fiction movie. Well, we did it already!”
Ghidini showed Dr. Ashurbeyli the 1.5-ton moon base that was 3D printed using the moon regolith. ESTEC researchers duplicated the sample brought back by Neil Armstrong, and then 3D printed a sample piece for the moon base.
Asgardia’s Head of Nation visited the laboratories where 3D printing takes place. Dr. Ashurbeyli also saw the solar radiation simulator, in which 19 IMAX-class lamps imitate solar light, which is reflected by 121 hexagonal mirrors into the vacuum chamber, multiplying its intensity.
Igor Ashurbeyli and Tommaso Ghidini next to the building material that has been 3D printed to imitate the lunar regolith
Igor Ashurbeyli visited laboratories where scientists are working to produce materials using 3D printing
Igor Ashurbyli poses in front of a poster displaying a simulation of Martian surface, intended to help scientists perfect the movements of the Martian roverKat Jones