The use of 3D printers will be undeniable in the (near) future and also for “out of this world” projects. European Space Agency (ESA) is currently looking into the feasibility of building a base on the moon using 3D printing. With the help of London-based architecture firm Foster + Partners, the lunar base prototype is being modeled as a multi-domed structure set to withstand impending climates and natural occurrences in its environment.
Like with any architectural design project, the team involved in the undertaking seeks to build a construction that is prepared for anything. Additionally, the project is looking to incorporate smart design by 3D printing the base with lunar soil, using Monolite’s D-Shape printer. The printer is currently capable of printing at a speed of 2m per hour but the next generation of the technology should speed up to 3.5m/hr, allowing it to print out a full building within a week.
So far, ESA has confirmed that a 1.5-metric ton building block has been assembled as a demonstration of the base’s design, saying, “Foster + Partners 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” adding that “a hollow closed-cell structure – reminiscent of bird bones – provides a good combination of strength and weight.” It’s only a matter of time before we start making settlements on the moon.
1.5-metric ton building block produced as a demonstration