(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 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.
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.