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Astronauts Might Accommodate in 3D-Printed Houses on Moon

The advanced construction technology company Icon has been awarded Small Business Innovation Research contract, including funding from NASA.

The Earthlings' relationship with outer space is getting on more intimate terms as we keep launching aircraft and sending probes over to planets and moons. Soon, people will be visiting our Moon after years again but where will they accommodate? That's a question the technology startup Icon and its partners', SEArch+ and the Bjarke Ingels Group, are about to tackle with Olympus Project.

It all started when Icon CEO Jason Ballard met Ingels in 2019 and took him on a 3D-printed house tour build by his company in Austin, as FastCompany reports. 

"So the idea with this partnership between Icon and BIG is that it’s really robust from a science and engineering perspective, but also worthy of being humanity’s first home on another world,” Ballard said. 

RELATED: LUNAR FACTS: THE MOON IS AN ODD AND FASCINATING PLACE

Basically, what they decided to do is 3D print accommodation, by also installing the 3D printer on the moon.  

As the aesthetic will be put in second place before getting down to work, the architecture of the moon-house will be based on the materials and conditions. A moon day is as long as two weeks on Earth and two Earth weeks equal a moon night. The heat differences and radiation remain quite extreme compared to Earth. Not to mention the weak atmosphere that doesn't really protect it. To cover all this in a safe way seems to be the key.

Astronauts Might Accommodate in 3D-Printed Houses on Moon
Concept render by BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, Source: Icon 

“Before we even start adding any kind of choice or sensibility, it starts suggesting certain forms over others,” Ingels said.

And when it comes to design, it might surprise you as they will not look like a full sphere shelter but more like igloos in a donut-like shape. Waffled exteriors will provide both structure and protection, reported FastCompany.

Astronauts Might Accommodate in 3D-Printed Houses on Moon
Concept render by SEArch+, Source: Icon 

“It’s almost like a balloon that wants to burst,” Ingels said. “This kind of language started emerging that, when you look at it, you could suspect is ornamental but it’s 100% functional.”

A moon-based 3D printer is currently being engineered to work on the "dusty regolith of the moon’s surface," FastCompany indicates. And it will be operated autonomously from another base with remote instructions.  

H/T: FastCompany 

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