There is no stopping our conquest of space, thanks to Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), which, with NASA funding, has allowed ICON, SEArch+ and BIG to come up with a project permitting us to colonise the moon.
The biggest hurdle facing construction on the best-known satellite in the solar system is in fact locally sourcing construction materials so that they won’t have to be brought from earth. The only way for building on the moon would be 3D printing.
The project began in 2018, when NASA’s 3D Printed Habitat Challenge was launched with the aim of identifying an appropriate technology. Winner ICON had already been making simple 3D printed buildings for the disadvantaged in America: the first 3D printed house was built that year, with US government authorisation, opening up the path to the first human community living in 3D printed houses, located in Mexico. This was followed by the idea of building more such homes in Austin, Texas to house the area’s population of chronically homeless people.
The details of the futuristic project have not yet been made public, as it is still in the exploratory stages. A number of questions still remain to be answered, such as how the 3D printers will be taken to the moon, how building materials will be extracted and selected on-site, and, above all, what binders will be used to make the cement required to build the walls. The answers are still top secret. Yet SEArch+’s experience in researching the possibility of building on Mars, and the intention to go into further detail in this area, will in the future definitely lead to a new way of designing and building homes in space. And, why not? On earth as well!
Images by BIG