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GameOn - Skyrim PC Episode #88

Saturday, February 2, 2013

3D Printed Moon Base?!!

Designs Unveiled for a 3D Printed Moon Base

Foster and Partners, a London based architecture firm, has unveiled its designs for a hypothetical moon base, constructed using large scale, robot-operated 3D printers and raw materials found on the Moon. Using regolith, the powdery substance popularly known as “lunar soil,” Monolite UK’s D-shape 3D printers would be able to construct a habitable facility on the Moon’s surface large enough to accommodate up to four people, with the option of adding extensions.

Image Credit: Foster and Partners     

In a recent press release, Xavier De Kestelier, a partner in the firm's specialist modeling group, said:
"As a practice, we are used to designing for extreme climates on Earth and exploiting the environmental benefits of using local, sustainable materials. It has been a fascinating and unique design process, which has been driven by the possibilities inherent in the material."
The project, a collaboration between the firm, the European Space Agency, and Italian space engineering firm Alta SpA, isn’t the first to capitalize on the benefits of 3D printing technology. Just last week, Deep Space Industries announced tentative launch dates of their FireFly spacecraft, which would work in tandem with DSI’s 3D printing Micro Gravity Foundry, to mine asteroids for manufacturing materials.

Image Credit: Foster and Partners 

The origins of the project can be traced back to 2010, when NASA approached Amit Bandyopadhyay, professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Washington State University, about the possibility of using 3D printing technology to create solid structures on the lunar surface using materials indigenous to the Moon. Bandyopadhyay’s team made the groundbreaking discovery that regolith comprised of silicon, aluminum, calcium, iron and magnesium oxides acted similarly to silica, which could be employed by 3D printers to create architecturally sound buildings on the Moon. According to Bandyopadhyay, "It sounds like science fiction, but now it's really possible.”

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