Waste is a resource! even on the moon
January 8, 2018. The European Space Agency (ESA) entrusted the URBAN Consortium, which includes COMEX in Marseille, LIQUIFER Systems Group and SONACA Space GmbH, under the direction of OHB System AG, the study “Designing a lunar base using 3D printing technologies”. The team will evaluate the feasibility and implementation of additive layer manufacturing in the construction, operation and maintenance of a lunar base.
Logistics and bringing needed items into space or onto a planetary surface remains as one of the major constraints in long-term human space missions. Experts across the space sector have shown great interest in the utilization of lunar resources as the next logical step in implementing a global strategy for human exploration of the solar system.
Therefore, the key to any sustainable presence in space is the ability to manufacture the necessary structures, items and spare parts, on-site and on-demand. This can reduce the cost and volume of cargo missions launched from Earth, if a substantial portion of the elements needed for long-duration missions can be produced locally. Additive manufacturing technologies represent a potential solution to this goal, as they can reduce lead times from design to implementation and reduce manufacturing waste, while increasing recyclability and the ability to produce optimized parts. on demand.
The URBAN study will examine the capacity of these additive manufacturing techniques by carrying out two parallel surveys. The first concerns the mapping of the material required for a permanent human lunar base. The other survey is an analysis of available additive layer manufacturing technologies and their potential capabilities in a lunar environment. The assessment includes the state of the art 3D printing related to many materials such as metals, polymers, ceramics, concrete, food ingredients, living tissue and even … waste.
Une base lunaire conceptuelle RegoLight (Crédit : LSG)