Credit: ESA/URBAN Consortium

The European Space Agency (ESA) is moving forward on its Moon base plans, recently funding the study “Conceiving a Lunar Base Using 3D Printing Technologies” to the URBAN consortium.

Credit: NASA/ESA/URBAN Consortium

This new ESA-led project investigated the ways that 3D printing could be used to create and run a habitat on the Moon. Everything from building materials to solar panels, equipment and tools to clothes, even nutrients and food ingredients can potentially be 3D printed.

URBAN is an eleven-month study conducted by four partners for ESA’s General Studies Program; it will finish this month, November 2018. The URBAN consortium is comprised of COMEX, LIQUIFER Systems Group and SONACA Space GmbH under the lead of OHB System AG.

Credit: ESA/URBAN Consortium

3-phase approach

This new work focused on the feasibility and implementation effort of using Additive Layer Manufacturing in the construction, operations and maintenance of a lunar base.

A thorough exploration of state-of-the-art 3D-printing processes and associated printing materials for each process is conducted, with a specialized interest in identifying materials that already exist on the Moon, or that can be recycled from the spacecraft arriving from Earth.

Credit: ESA/URBAN Consortium

The overall goal of the project is devising a plan for reducing the up-launch requirements for building and maintaining a growing lunar base.

Credit: ESA/URBAN Consortium

The outcome of the study is a searchable database – which provides a matrix for understanding the concurrences and potential overlaps in

 

the independent variables: (1) items required for 3-phase lunar base, (2) advanced manufacturing technologies, (3) materials.

 

 

 

 

Go to this informative video at:

https://youtu.be/SdycFkvJam0

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