NASA is planning a long-term return to the moon, aiming to build houses on the lunar surface that can be used by both astronauts and civilians by 2040. The agency plans to send a 3-D printer to the moon to build structures using a specialized lunar concrete made from rock chips, mineral fragments, and dust found on the surface. NASA is partnering with construction technology company ICON to develop the space-based construction system, which could be used to print everything from rocket landing pads to habitats. The ultimate goal is to have a sustainable human presence on the moon, with people living and working there continuously.
While there are many obstacles to overcome, such as the abrasive and toxic lunar dust, NASA is confident in its ability to achieve its goals by partnering with academics and industry leaders. By utilizing 3-D printing technology and developing a construction system that can be operated by robots in space, NASA hopes to overcome the challenges of building in a different environment with different physics. One of the key advantages of 3-D printing in space is that it reduces the need to transport materials from Earth, which can be costly and unsustainable. However, NASA scientists are currently working on perfecting a simulated lunar concrete that can stand in for moon-made material while they conduct tests on Earth.
Overall, NASA’s plan to build houses on the moon represents a new era for space exploration and colonization. By leveraging new technology and partnerships, the agency hopes to establish a sustainable human presence on the moon and potentially pave the way for living on Mars in the future. While there are still many challenges to overcome and skeptics who question the timeline and feasibility of the plan, NASA remains optimistic and believes that with the right people, capabilities, and continued progress, their goals can be achieved. The dream of living on the moon is becoming closer to reality, and NASA is excited for the possibilities that lie ahead.