The idea of 3D printing entire buildings was amazing enough but now according to reports from Phys.org the European Space Agency and London- based architecture firm Foster + Partners we may well be 3D printing self sustaining space bases on a lunar Surface.
At this stage they are only just exploring the feasibility of a 3D printed space base but even that is an amazing thought. One issue they are facing is finding building material. They have simulated moon dust combined with magnesium oxide and a “binding salt” to help the concoction settle properly. They believe the whole process is possible in the vacuum of space thanks to a crafty approach to extruding liquid on a lunar surface.
Early concepts feature a weight- bearing dome along with a “cellular structured wall” to help protect inhabitants from ambient radiation and micrometeoroid strikes. There are still many practical issues to be explored but the printing process seems to work well on earth.
“Our current printer builds at a rate of around 2 m per hour, while our next-generation design should attain 3.5 m per hour,the process of completing an entire building would take about a week, though whether or not that same timeframe could apply to actual lunar construction remains to be seen.”
said Enrico Dini, founder of UK 3D printing company Monolite
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