Is mankind getting closer to colonising the Moon?
The European Space Agency (ESA) has recently revealed its latest plans to create affordable housing on the Moon. 45 years since human beings stepped out on to the surface of our rocky neighbour and we’re still yet to solve the problem of how to get building materials up there, let alone how to build cost-effective and safe structures, fit for human habitat.
However, thanks to advances in 3D printing, experts claim that the first people living on the Moon could be moving into their new house in as little as 40 years from now.
The ESA’s video shows plans for how wheeled robotic 3D printers would collect building materials from the Moon’s surface before converting it into a radiation/meteor-resistant coating for these new ‘houses’.
Some time ago the ESA set out its plans for transporting pod homes to the Moon using individual rockets. These multiple pods would link together to form “terraces”, with separate airlocks and a technical support module.
But this new video shows how “regolith”, or Moon dust, could be harnessed to provide a coating for the inflatable domes that would otherwise be vulnerable to the harsh conditions of lunar living.
Scott Hovland, from the ESA’s human spaceflight team, said: “3D printing offers a potential means of facilitating lunar settlement with reduced logistics from Earth.”
Xavier De Kestelier, from the specialist modelling team at Foster + Partners, said: “As a practice, we are used to designing for extreme climates on Earth and exploiting the environmental benefits of using local, sustainable materials. Our lunar habitation follows a similar logic.”
Not quite sure how we’d conduct viewings on these houses though. It’s a long round trip that is.