NASA’s plan to build homes on the Moon: Space agency backs 3D print technology which could build base

Jan 15, 2014 No Comments by

Creating structures in space that astronauts can live in has become a priority for Nasa.

With a manned mission to Mars on the agenda, and plans for lunar exploration underway, scientists are increasingly looking towards unconventional construction methods.

The most promising of these is 3D printing, which could make building a lunar home in space a matter of pressing a button and letting a robot do the work.

Building a home both on Earth and the Moon could soon be a matter of pressing a button and letting a robot ‘print’ the structure

Nasa has now provided funding to the University of Southern California to develop a specific 3D printing technique known as Contour Crafting.

According to researchers, Contour Crafting could allow computer-controlled machines to build houses within 24 hours.

The layered fabrication technology sees concrete, or other material such as lunar soil, applied in a pre-determined design by a nozzle on a moveable gantry.

A process called Contour Crafting allows computer-controlled machines to build houses within 24 hours. The layered fabrication technology sees concrete, or other material such as lunar soil, applied in a pre-determined design by a nozzle on a moveable gantry, as shown in this image

Nasa has provided funding to the University of Southern California to develop the 3D printing technique known as Contour Crafting. It hopes this will allow astronauts to have a base on the moon in the near future

The technology means it will also be possible to create curved concrete walls, such as the ones pictured

The theory is that 90 per cent of the materials needed to build the structure already exists on the Moon.

The few parts that would need to be made on Earth would be folded from a tubular module that can be transported by space rocket.

Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis from the University of Southern California claims that Contour Crafting construction methods can build entire lunar houses with all the fixtures and fittings.

The nature of the technology means it will also be possible to create curved walls and architecture that is both ‘exotic’ and ‘beautiful’, according to Professor Khoshnevis.

Aside from creating buildings in space, the innovation could have applications in building simple homes in disaster zones or slum areas.

It could also be used to print out customised luxury homes, Professor Khoshnevis said.

Scientists believe that 90 per cent of the materials needed to build structures on the Moon already exist on its surface. This means the cost of creating lunar buildings would be much cheaper than sending materials from Earth to the lunar service

Aside from creating buildings in space, the innovation could have applications in building simple homes in disaster zones or slum areas

Some fixtures created using Contour Crafting. Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis from the University of Southern California claims that the process can build entire lunar houses with all the fixtures and fittings

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