Everything indicates that humanity is almost ready for its long stay on the Moon. The first Artemis mission is being a success, taking the Orion capsule to places humanity has never been before. Now, although we told you some time ago that NASA had plans to establish bases on the satellite, today Already confirmed a disbursement of 57.2 million dollars for its 3D printing.
ICON has been the company chosen by NASA to develop everything necessary. Your task will be to research and develop construction technologies that allow you to build cabins, roads and runways through 3D printing. It is hard work, and taking into account the conditions on the Moon, it will be necessary to work with fundamentals of physics that the construction world was not used to.
The contract between NASA and ICON will run until 2028, the agency announced Tuesday. For its part, the company is based in the city of Austin, Texas, and He has previously worked with projects based on extraterrestrial bodies. One of them was the construction of a 158 square meter habitat based on Mars.
Its name was Mars Dune Alpha, and NASA will drink from this project for the Crew Health and Performance Analog (CHAPEA) mission, starting in 2023.
NASA’s Artemis mission could have 3D-printed lunar stations
As we have already commented on other occasions, the Artemis project is the first attempt in a long plan to turn humanity into an interplanetary species. Thus, the missions to the Moon they would serve as a catapult to allow us to reach more distant locations, like the long-awaited Mars. In fact, NASA explains it on its website.
“To explore other worlds, we need new innovative technologies tailored to those environments and our exploration needs,” said Niki Werkheiser, director of technology maturation for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate.
“Pushing this development forward with our trading partners will create the capabilities we need for future missions.”
ICON’s Olympus project is multi-layered. It is a conceptual construction system that would make it possible to build the first settlements using resources available on the Moon (and Mars, in the future). Of course, we are talking about regolith, the dusty surface of both celestial bodies, which could become the material for NASA’s future interplanetary habitats.
ICON prepares on Earth
On the other hand, ICON already has a career in the construction world here on Earth. They were in charge of building the first 3D printed houses in the United States. Now, they take her to new worlds and totally different conditions.
For the development of the necessary construction technology, ICON will work with lunar regolith brought back to Earth by the Apollo missions. In addition, we know that NASA is studying how to 3D print with the gravitational conditions of the Moon.
According to the space agency, humans should be able to work on the Moon by 2030, a statement they offered after the launch of Artemis I. However, the date may sound too close, and we are used to the delays of NASA plans.