Jan 8, 2016

How to 3d print on the Moon?

I'm a strong supporter for space colonization (even if it sounds ridiculous now). 3d printing will certainly be one of the key technologies that will enable us to go there.

Currently there is a small race by several private companies. from start-up to large corporations, to get a foothold in the space by developing tech solutions. Since the Moon is one of the main targets, 3d printing with lunar dust and regolith will be solutions for building Lunar bases or large surface antennae dishes. It will be done by using small robotic 3d printing rovers and some type of laser or microwave sintering of Moon surface material.

If you want to  learn much more, here is an excellent and very educational presentation by Karsten Becker from Part Time Scientists. They are a team that is in Goggle Lunar XPrize competition to enable affordable access to space.

Video of the presentation:

PTScientists have a partnership with Audi for their Moon rover technology.

Here is a video with more details of the rover and story behind it. They use a lot of 3d printing with aluminum and titanium to get the properties they need. Wheels are critical for the rover movement so the pattern is specially designed.

BTW: if you are interested in Moon colonization and SF you should read Luna: New Moon by Ian Mcdonald. It is a great space opera that has elements of Dune and Game of Thrones, but is set on the Moon.