ESA succeeds in creating bricks using 3D printing and moondust

ESA

This time it was the ESA, European Space Agency, which has launched a press release announcing that one of its teams of researchers and scientists has managed to develop the necessary technology to achieve 3D printing of bricks with simulated solar dust using concentrated sunlight, a technology that seems basic, or at least that is what ESA believes, to achieve create a permanent base on the Moon.

As a detail, tell you that for this work the Solar Furnace which at the time was installed at the DLR German Aerospace Center (Cologne). Going deeper into the subject, tell you that it is made up of no less than 147 curved mirrors that focus sunlight directly on a fixed point capable of melting the grains of the ground. Unfortunately, this solar oven has a problem, and that is that the climate in northern Europe is not always sunny, so, on many occasions, the sun has to be simulated with xenon lamps.

ESA manages to develop a technology theoretically, in the absence of real tests, capable of 3D printing bricks on the Moon.

As he commented Advenit makaya, a materials engineer who has been in charge of supervising all the work carried out by ESA:

We take simulated lunar material and cook it in a solar oven. This was done on a 3D printer table to bake successive layers of 0,1 millimeters of moondust at 1.000 degrees Celsius. We can complete a 20 x 10 x 3 centimeter brick to build in about five hours.

We are looking at how to handle this effect, perhaps by occasionally speeding up the print speed so that less heat builds up inside the brick. But for now this project is a proof of concept, showing that such a lunar construction method is indeed feasible.

Our demonstration took place in normal atmospheric conditions, but RegoLight (dedicated to the production of building materials'on-site'in future lunar missions) will probe the brick impression under representative lunar conditions: vacuum and extremes of high temperature.


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