We’re advancing further and further into the age of space exploration and it seems each and every day holds a new surprise; today, the announcement of ESA’s “Moon Village” steals all the headlines.
The European Space Agency wants to do more than journey back to the moon, they want to live there. Recently they presented a mock of “Moon Village”. Moon Village is a habitat that would be 3D printed directly onto the lunar surface; it would be made entirely from lunar soil and would be manufactured by robots.
The idea was confirmed last month at “Moon 2020-2030 – A New Era of Coordinated Human and Robotic Exploration” – a conference in the Netherlands that hosted over 200 lunar scientists and experts.
The design itself was created by Foster + Partners, the ESA’s top choice for partnership on this project.
The initial plan is to send a cylindrical dome to the surface of the Moon. Once landed, a weight-bearing dome will inflate from the cylinder to act as the central structure of the system. The Moon’s soil will be used to construct a shell around the dome (to shield inhabitants from dangerous background radiation).
The ESA has already demonstrated it’s ability to 3D print structures from the lunar soial; in 2013 the team demonstrated it’s technology with simulated lunar soil – they built a 1.5 tonnes block.
The ESA space-exploration strategy sets the moon as a priority destination for humans on the way to Mars, and the recent talk of a ‘Moon Village’ certainly has generated a lot of positive energy in Europe. The timing is right to get started on the capabilities which allow Europe to meet its exploration objectives and ensure Europe remains a strong partner as humans begin to explore the Solar System.
Moon Village would ideally be built around the southern lunar pole where there is near-perpetual sunlight on its horizon. The ESA has scheduled a moon mission for 2020 to scout for possible landing sites.
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