Here’s a Vision of a Future Moon Base that Could be Produced and Maintained Using 3-D Printing

A new project led by the ESA is looking into the ways that 3-D printing could be used to craft and run a habitat on the moon, cutting the dependency on Earth for logistics. For example, almost everything such as building materials, solar panels, equipment, tools, clothes, and even nutrients and ingredients for food could be 3-D printed – as detailed in a new video.

Space agencies around the globe are looking into the idea of a lunar base as the next step for human space exploration. 3-D printing could be the technology that makes it happen.

The goal would be to live off the land as much as possible, by printing as many structures, items and spares out of lunar regolith as they could, or by using and reusing materials brought for the mission, rather than continue to depend on the long, expensive supply line from Earth.

Maximized 3-D printing would also enable the on-demand production of items and spares with routine recycling of materials available within the base, resulting in lunar settlements being much more self-sufficient and sustainable.

Antonella Sgambati of OHB System AG, who is managing the project explained that the chosen print processes would enable available materials to be recycled for different purposes and another critical benefit of 3-D printing – also called additive manufacturing – is the variety of design options it provides. Components, products and the print process itself can be redesigned based on what the last usage in the lunar base is for. Plus, decisions can be made on how best to connect available materials with the hardware to be printed.

https://phys.org/news/2018-11-image-future-moon-base.html#jCp

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Jessica Zeitz
jess@barkersocial.com