May 6, 2017

ESA 3D Prints Moondust Bricks for Space Colony Construction

Space colonies will be built with 3d printers. We will never see bricklayers and construction workers in space suits.





Technology description:
Bricks have been 3D printed out of simulated moondust using concentrated sunlight. This ESA project took place at the DLR German Aerospace Center facility in Cologne, with a 3D printer table attached to a solar furnace, baking successive 0.1 mm layers of moondust at a temperature of 1000°C. A 20 x 10 x 3 cm brick for building can be completed in around five hours.
DLR Cologne’s solar furnace has two working setups: as a baseline, it uses 147 curved mirror facets to focus either actual sunlight into a high temperature beam, employed to melt together the grains of regolith. But this mode is weather dependent, so a solar simulator was subsequently employed as well – based on an array of xenon lamps more typically found in cinema projectors.

ESA project homepage:

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Engineering_Technology/Printing_bricks_from_moondust_using_the_Sun_s_heat