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Project olympus moon big - Materially

Buildings on the Moon will be 3D printed

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NASA’s Artemis program has the ambitious goal not only of returning humans to the moon, but also of exploring its surface with advanced tools.
To maintain a permanent presence on the Moon, it will be necessary to build robust structures that provide better thermal, radiation and micrometeorite protection than that provided by metal or inflatable constructions. The main challenges of buildings in space, and on the Moon in particular, where there is no atmosphere, concern the resistance to internal pressure and protection from cosmic and solar radiation, so solid constructions are more efficient.

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NASA has long been exploring the potential of 3D printing for constructions in space; already in 2019 it had launched the 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge, a competition to develop livable habitats made with 3D printing, for a total funding of over 2 million dollars.

Today ICON, a developer of advanced construction technologies including robotics, 3D printing of buildings and development of building materials, has received additional government funding for the research and development of an extra-terrestrial construction system that could support future exploration of the Moon from NASA.

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The project, called Olympus and currently in the concept phase, was developed in collaboration with the architectural firm BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) and SEArch (Space Exploration Architecture) and involves 3D printed infrastructures starting from materials present on the lunar soil (rocks or regolith).

This project will also make it possible to develop more sustainable and more efficient construction methods, also applicable on Earth, such as the use of local resources with zero waste.