NOV 09, 2022 6:00 AM PST

Building Artemis Base Camp with Lunar Regolith "Bricks"

Artist's illustration of Artemis astronauts on the Moon. (Credit: NASA)

In a recent study published in Ceramics International, a team of researchers from the University of Central Florida (UCF) have created 3D-printed bricks of lunar regolith that could be used to construct buildings on the Moon for the Artemis missions in the coming years. This study has the potential to drastically decrease the cost of sending construction materials to the Moon, since the Moon itself could be mined for construction materials.

For the study, the researchers combined binder jet technology (BJT)—a procedure used in manufacturing that involves forcing a liquid binding agent onto a powder bed—and 3D printing to create the bricks. In this case, the liquid binding agent was saltwater and the lunar regolith acted as the powder.

"BJT is uniquely suitable for ceramic-like materials that are difficult to melt with a laser," said Dr. Ranajay Ghosh, who is an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UCF, and a co-author on the study. "Therefore, it has great potential for regolith-based extraterrestrial manufacturing in a sustainable way to produce parts, components and construction structures."

Once the BJT process was complete, the bricks were subjected to temperatures up to 1200 degrees Celsius (2192 degrees Fahrenheit) which strengthened their structural integrity while allowing them to resist pressure equivalent to 250 million times the atmosphere of the Earth. It was discovered that bricks subjected to lower temperatures crumbled.

"This research contributes to the ongoing debate in space exploration community on finding the balance between in-situ extraterrestrial resource utilization versus material transported from Earth," said Dr. Ghosh. "The further we develop techniques that utilize the abundance of regolith, the more capability we will have in establishing and expanding base camps on the moon, Mars, and other planets in the future."

Sources: Ceramics International

As always, keep doing science & keep looking up!

About the Author
MS in Geological Sciences
Laurence Tognetti is a six-year USAF Veteran who earned both a BSc and MSc from the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. Laurence is extremely passionate about outer space and science communication, and is the author of “Outer Solar System Moons: Your Personal 3D Journey”.
You May Also Like
AUG 05, 2022
Chemistry & Physics
Dark Matter Revealed from 12 billion Years Ago
AUG 05, 2022
Dark Matter Revealed from 12 billion Years Ago
Dark Matter is a mysterious matter which accounts for about 85% of the overall matter in our Universe. The reason it is ...
AUG 27, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Looking Back in Space: NASA's Ranger Program
AUG 27, 2022
Looking Back in Space: NASA's Ranger Program
This series will explore historic space missions from the start of the Space Age to the present day, including both crew ...
AUG 24, 2022
Space & Astronomy
A Reflection on ALMA's Ground-Breaking Images of HL Tau
AUG 24, 2022
A Reflection on ALMA's Ground-Breaking Images of HL Tau
In 2014, astronomers began testing the new high-resolution capabilities of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Ar ...
SEP 09, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Perseverance Likes Green Sand with Red Sand
SEP 09, 2022
Perseverance Likes Green Sand with Red Sand
In an array of studies, one published in Science Advances and two published in Science, a large international team of re ...
NOV 18, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Mars' Crust Diversification Revealed
NOV 18, 2022
Mars' Crust Diversification Revealed
In a recent study published in Geophysical Research Letters, a team of researchers led by the University of Iowa discuss ...
NOV 18, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Can You Stand on This Star?
NOV 18, 2022
Can You Stand on This Star?
Polarized X-ray light from a magnetar has been observed for the first time ever and the results have been published in a ...
Loading Comments...