The base on the moon will be printed on a 3D printer: NASA allocates $ 57 million to the project
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The US Space Agency has awarded $57 million to ICON to develop new building technology.
NASA has provided $57.2 million in funding to ICON, based in Austin, Texas, USA, to develop construction technology that will allow the creation of a base on the moon using 3D printing from lunar regolith. This new construction technology will allow people to create bases not only on the Moon, but also on Mars, writes Futurism.
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ICON, which specializes in the development of technologies based on 3D printing, is creating the Olympus project, within which it will be possible to build the first base on the moon by 2026.
If the NASA Artemis lunar program is implemented according to the preliminary schedule, then the return of a man to the moon should take place as early as 2025 or, as a last resort, in 2026. With NASA planning to set up a permanent outpost on the moon, astronauts will need secure shelter on the moon. And it can be created from local regolith using 3D printing technology.
“If we want not just to fly to the moon and back, but to stay there, to establish a colony, then we need reliable, stable and wide-functional systems that can use the local resources of the moon, the same applies to other planets where humanity will go. We are doing this not only for ourselves, we are enabling humanity to settle on other worlds,” says Jason Ballard, co-founder and CEO of ICON.
ICON is a pioneer in the use of advanced building technologies on Earth. For example, in 2018, the company built the first 3D printed house in the US, and since then it has built many such houses in the US and Mexico. And now the company intends to be the first to build a home for astronauts already on the moon.
The implementation of the Olympus project began in 2020, and now there is an active development of new technologies for building infrastructure on the Moon and Mars. For example, ICON plans to create there not only habitats for astronauts, but also landing sites, as well as roads. As for the base on Mars, the company already has a prototype created on a 3D printer called Mars Dune Alpha. Focus has already written about this project.
Instead of bringing a bunch of building materials to the moon, Ballard says, we should use what is available on the moon – local dust and stones. Thus, it will significantly reduce the cost of lunar missions.
“If building materials are sent to the Moon every time to create one or another object, then this will cost at least $100 million for each flight, but if you use a system that can build almost everything on the moon using lunar regolith, then this will reduce the cost of such a project by 2, maybe even 3 times, “says Ballard.< /p>
ICON plans to use the money it receives from NASA to study the lunar regolith and its features so that it can be effectively used during construction. These lunar soil samples have been in NASA since the Apollo program ended 50 years ago. Also, the money will be used to test new construction technologies and the end result of this contract will be the construction of the first base on the Moon for astronauts in 4 years.
NASA is serious about creating a home for astronauts, because the agency's goal remains to establish a permanent human presence on the Moon by the end of this decade. And this goal should be realized within the framework of the new Artemis lunar program, the first stage of which began on November 16 this year, when the Orion spacecraft flew to the Moon. As Focus already wrote, he managed to set two records in space at once.
As Focus already wrote, scientists created fuel for a space rocket from lunar dust.