The use of lunar materials for 3D printing has finally been successful. The feasibility of the process has been proved by the European Space Agency. Now the agency is in a mission to create an entire lunar base with this technology. The ESA had collaborated with its industrial partners to find out the possibility of developing semi-spherical constructions on the lunar surface using a 3D printing robot. At the Additive Manufacturing for Space Applications workshop, 350 experts studied about the probability of changing the space industry and started the standard preparations for the use of this technology.
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Logistics from Earth Might Reduce
According to Scott Hovland, who is in ESA’s human spaceflight team, 3D printing provides a probable way of reducing the logistics from Earth by facilitating lunar settlement. With this, new options will arise which can be used by international space agencies as a part of the current development of a common exploration strategy.
Creating A Colony on the Moon
The location of the lunar base that will be created with 3D printing is supposed to be along the rim of the Shackleton Crater. The crater is on the south pole of the moon and is positioned at the “peak of eternal light”. The position of the crater and the location of the lunar base will allow for solar power almost all the time.
Each living structure would accommodate up to four people. Astronauts living inside the base will be protected from radiation due to the thick walls.
The construction techniques that are going to be used would mean that the structure will be built with 90 percent of the materials coming from the moon itself.
The plans for 3D printing a lunar base are right now only limited to the drawing board. However, according to ESA, the confirmation of the possibility of this process is a huge step towards the goal. It means that eventually a colony can be built on the moon and the plan might be realized in the next 40 years.
If this process is successful, it will be a drastic leap for 3D printing and the use of this technology will surge significantly.
What do you think?
Do you think this is a huge leap for 3D printing? What are the other useful applications of this technology? Share your views in the comments below.
Image Source – esa.int