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Moon Science

Researchers Build Objects With 3D Printing Using Simulated Moon Rocks 59

MarkWhittington writes "It has been a truism among space planners that future space settlers will have to build things on other worlds out of as much local materials as possible, saving the cost of transporting things from Earth to the moon or Mars. Two professors at the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Washington State University have taken a step forward toward developing that technology using laser enabled 3D printing using simulated moon rocks to create simple objects."
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Researchers Build Objects With 3D Printing Using Simulated Moon Rocks

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  • by c0lo ( 1497653 ) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @12:58AM (#42126703)

    Not 3d laser printing their bases. Where would they get the energy to do this?

    Sun []?

    Keep in mind:
    * the solar energy flux on the Moon's surface is approx equal with the one in Sahara (even a bit better due to no atmospheric absorption on the Moon)
    * the "Moon daylight" is 14 times longer than on Earth (true:so is the Moon night)

  • Re:Mooncrete (Score:5, Informative)

    by Neil Boekend ( 1854906 ) on Thursday November 29, 2012 @03:15AM (#42127149)
    Concrete has the slight problem that it requires massive amounts of water. Water is in short supply on the moon, all there is should be reserved for drinking and other essential stuff. This research is in the melting of moon rock with lasers (probably in a powder bed) to manufacture parts. It seems like it behaves approximately like silica, although I do not know whether that's a useful construction material.
    Perhaps a sidestep would be "welding" natural moon rocks together to obtain an airtight shell. Then no water is required to build the moon base.
    Assuming all the properties are similar to silica it may be possible to create quartz glass with it, allowing for windows.
    This lessens the cost of building a base (or maybe a city) on the moon. They are still astronomical, but this is a step in that direction.

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