NASA has announced an ambitious plan to construct lunar habitats by 2040, using a 3D printer and concrete made from lunar materials. This would mark a significant milestone in human exploration of the moon.
According to media reports, NASA is collaborating with universities and private companies to develop the technology and expertise needed for this lunar construction project. The agency intends to send a 3D printer to the moon, which would use lunar rock chips and mineral fragments to create concrete structures that could withstand the harsh environment of the moon.
Niki Werkheiser, NASA’s director of technology maturation, said that this is a pivotal moment in the history of space exploration. “We’re at a pivotal moment, and in some ways it feels like a dream sequence. In other ways, it feels like it was inevitable that we would get here,” she said.
“Everyone is ready to take this step together, so if we get our core capabilities developed, there’s no reason it’s not possible," she added.
Prior to this endeavor, NASA has the task of successfully executing the Artemis 2 mission, set to launch next year, which follows its predecessor, Artemis 1, a mission that took off from the Kennedy Space Centre with only robots on board. Artemis 2 will have a human crew of four members.
Subsequently, in 2025 or 2026, the Artemis 3 mission will utilize SpaceX's Starship to land on the lunar South Pole, marking a historic return of humans to the moon's surface, according to the Fortune report.