NASA might be winding down many of its programs, but the European Space Agency is still going strong. Not only is the agency contemplating future moon missions, it’s actively researching how to build a habitat for those intrepid explorers to stay for extended periods of time on our natural satellite.
But there’s a catch: Transporting materials and tools to build a moon residence is expensive and difficult. That’s where 3-D printing comes in. The European Space Agency has hooked up with London architecture firm Foster + Partners to see if it would be possible to “print” a four-person moon home using the moon’s soil. The agency will be testing the printer in zero-gravity, to see if it can still operate in the vacuum environment present on the moon.
The company has already made out a few details: The home will be made up of dome-shaped rooms with hollow walls to limit the amount of printing needed. If all goes well, we could expect to see the European Space Agency move on this by 2035.