Printing out a Moonbase
One of our November 2012 stories begins:
At a recent conference on the future of aerospace, 27-year-old entrepreneur Jason Dunn outlined his philosophy of why, after more than 50 years of space exploration, humans are not yet living in space colonies. "Everything manmade that's ever been in space had to be built and launched from the ground," he says. "And that puts enormous constraints on what you can actually do in space, because everything has to survive launch. So how do you get around that?" His suggestion: Don't manufacture things on the ground.
The European Space Agency is taking the idea of 3D printing in space to heart. They've joined up with well-known architect firm Foster + Partners to discuss the idea of printing a whole moonbase. Their press release about the idea notes that a next-generation 3D printer could print out an entire building in just one week.
Credit: ESA/Foster + Partners