(Credit: The European Space Agency)
As if the world's first 3D-printed house wasn't enough, now architecture firm Foster + Partners has unveiled its plan to 3D print houses on the moon.
Foster + Partners and the European Space Agency (ESA) aren't going to be outdone by some 3D-printed Möbius house on the coast of Ireland, oh no. The architecture firm and space agency have teamed up to create the, er, world's first 3D-printed moon base.
The plan, according to the ESA, is to print the structures using a D-Shape large-scale 3D printer (the same as the one used for Landscape House) out of material found locally on the moon.
The structure would be based on a dome with "cellular" walls — with pockets of air, much like a bird's bones, to give a combination of strength and weight — printed from lunar soil and binding agent, and incorporating a pressurised inflatable for added protection. The structure would then be covered with a layer of lunar regolith — that is, topsoil — for a final layer.
(Credit: the European Space Agency)
This, the ESA said, would shield against micrometeoroids and space radiation.
The construction is currently in an experimental stage — so far, a 1.5-tonne honeycombed block has been created as a demonstration. "As a practice, we are used to designing for extreme climates on Earth and exploiting the environmental benefits of using local, sustainable materials. Our lunar habitation follows a similar logic," said Xavier De Kestelier of Foster + Partners.
Read more on the ESA's website here.