Russian space agency Roscosmos has just announced its plans to support long-term expeditions to the Moon by 3D printing structures created from on-site material, such as lunar dust. That seems to be the best alternative for such instructions, and it adds to plans made by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) that also wants to use lunar or Martian soil as source material for 3D printers on the Moon and the Red Planet.
According to Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin, Russian cosmonauts will step on the Moon for the first time in 2030. By then, NASA is also expected to land on the Moon soon after, as they are planning their first expedition in 2024, as part of the Moon to Mars program. Several 3D printing technologies are expected to aid the program.
At the moment, every space agency has its focus set on Mars. This will most likely help in extending further humans’ physical reach into the solar system, advancing the hunt for life beyond planet Earth, and also helping scientists understand how everything came to life billions of years ago.
Russian Space Agency, Roscosmos, plans to use lunar dust for 3D printing building on the Moon
One of the first phases in this plan is for humans to step on the Moon. There, space agencies want to build a base that will make possible to travel further the cosmos. 3D printing has a huge potential in construction in the space as it helps the creation of almost anything using limited feedstock, materials found on the site, or even waste.
The Russian’s space organizations’ plans for its local lunar program will allegedly include the beginning of construction of large-scale architectures suing additive technology and domestic resources. Russia’s Lavochkin Scientific and Production Association has previously stated that building on the Moon could be conducted by a solar-powered, regolith sourcing 3D printer.
ESA Advanced Manufacturing Engineer in Materials and Processes, Dr. Advenit Makaya says that autonomy will be the main ingredient to 3D printing’s success in space. He adds that humans will most likely send the machines on the sites before sending astronauts so they can print the structures for us.