3D printed lunar base, illustration

3D printed lunar base, illustration

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Credit: ESA/Foster + Partners/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: 3D printed lunar base. Computer illustration of a base on the Moon that has been constructed using 3D printing techniques. Setting up a future lunar base could be made much simpler by using a 3D printer to build it from local materials. The ESA (European Space Agency) is conducting research to test the feasibility of 3D printing using lunar soil. The base is first unfolded from a tubular module that can be easily transported by space rocket. An inflatable dome then extends from one end of this cylinder to provide a support structure for construction. Layers of regolith are then built up over the dome by a robot-operated 3D printer (right) to create a protective shell.

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