Humans achieved a great feat when the Apollo 8 mission was sent into space. Although it did not land on the moon’s surface, it did orbit it twice and then returned safely back to earth. It was not until the eight day Apollo 11 mission that humans actually managed to reach the moon. This led to the question of return: astronauts had to spend many hours away from direct communication to the earth. Rockets could be sent for their aid if needed, but this added to the cost of keeping them there in the first place. Any long term plans would have to be suspended due to this problem.
3D printing has presented experts with the chance to reduce costs and make new advancements in space exploration. The technique could allow astronauts to make whatever they require directly from the raw materials present in their surroundings. They can take basic manufacturing components and then print out the final product while they are still in space.
Building a Lunar Base
Building an actual base on the moon is a theoretical possibility that 3D printing companies have broken this down into a few simple procedures. Using local raw materials and natural products, humans can essentially create whatever they please using this technology. The European Space Agency (ESA) has endorsed this idea and have hired numerous architects to assess the practical applicability of this concept. They are currently deciding whether the lunar soil can be feasible with a digital model made by astronauts.
Can there be a Livable Habitat?
Project heads of the ESA have concluded that whole structures can be made easily with 3D printing and this flourishing industry can make it possible to create a habitable space on the moon. Considerations of weight and gravity are also being taken, with a weight bearing dome design being developed to eradicate lack of a downward pull. Furthermore, there are special models being made to help protect astronauts from radiation and asteroid hits. The strength of these structures make sure that humans will be able to reside within the domes and facilitate lunar settlement for future generations.
Russia has recently conducted an experiment that confirms using 3D print structures on the surface of the moon. The onsite material is being put to the test to see whether large scale structures can be made using local resources and additive technologies. These vital structures are not only present to help astronauts, but also to further the advancement of science and industrial objects. There have been announcements of establishing lunar colonies by the year 2040 but so far this is present only in theory and is yet to be put in development.
The cohesion of materials and 3D printing on earth is still being understood and this process will take a while to perfect. Before we can establish a lunar base using 3D tech, there needs to be no limitations to the technology we are employing. Once real life tests are carried out only then can actual lunar activity be monitored.