NASA’s plan to build homes on the moon with ‘humans living and working there’10/04/2023
NASA has revealed its ambitious plan to build homes on the Moon by 2040 as the organization looks to the future of space exploration.
Experts have laid out their plans to blast a 3D printer up to Earth’s only natural satellite.
A lunar concrete will be made from moon dust and rock to create the material for building homes on the moon.
Niki Werkheiser, NASA’s director of technology maturation, discussed the plans in an interview with the New York Times.
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She said: “We’re at a pivotal moment, and in some ways, it feels like a dream sequence. In other ways, it feels like it was inevitable that we would get here.”
Ms Werkheiser’s family owned a construction company in her home state of Tennessee – and now she is developing plans for the construction of the first buildings on the moon.
The moon dust that will be used as building material is found all over the surface, but there are fears it could also be toxic and abrasive.
However, researchers are hopeful that the material can be used in the same way soil and minerals on Earth have been used to build civilizations.
No one has walked the moon since Apollo 17 commander Eugene Cernan achieved the feat back in 1972.
NASA wants to try and revive its ambitions with this new mission, named Artemis (the twin sister of Apollo).
Artemis I was launched into space last November. Only robots were onboard the unmanned craft as it circled the moon before returning back to Earth.
Artemis II will transport four astronauts in November 2024. History will be made, as the first woman and first black person to go to space will be among the crew.
Dr Raymond Clinton Jr, senior technical adviser of the science and technology office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, told the New York Times that he hopes to be around to see people living on the moon.
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The 71-year-old added: “When we talk about a sustainable human presence, to me that means that you have a lunar settlement and you have people living and working on the moon continuously.
“What that could be is only up to the imagination of entrepreneurs.”
NASA has partnered with ICON, an Austin-based construction tech firm, as they pursue their 2040 ambition.
ICON is receiving funding from the space agency as it tries to develop a space-based construction system.
So far the plans are still in the rendering phase but architects at both the Bjarke Ingels Group and SEArch+ (Space Exploration Architecture) are also involved.
Dr Ali Kazemian, a construction technology expert at Louisiana State University who is helping with the project, said: “People talk about humans living on the moon.
“But there’s another likely scenario, too. At some point on Earth, we are going to run out of resources. So establishing mines and fully automated factories on the moon is a possibility too.”
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