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Quick Tech News

QuickTechnics

by A. Fäh

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Quick Tech News

QuickTechnics

by Alexander Fäh

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3D Printing: Paving the Way for Moon Road Construction

 
  • Researchers investigate 3D printing of pavers made from moon dust for moon road construction.

  • Challenge: Suspended moon dust can damage equipment, necessitating solid infrastructure.

  • Innovative ideas, such as using sunlight instead of a heavy laser, could pave the way for future lunar exploration.

 

Innovative 3D Printing Technology: Pavers Made from Moon Dust for Lunar Exploration.

Revolutionary Technology - 3D-printed pavers from moon dust could shape the future of lunar exploration. (Image: Paver Consortium / LIQUIFER Systems Group)
Revolutionary Technology - 3D-printed pavers from moon dust could shape the future of lunar exploration. (Image: Paver Consortium / LIQUIFER Systems Group)

In a groundbreaking project known as PAVER, researchers from the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM), the Clausthal University of Technology, and Aalen University have explored the 3D printing of pavers from lunar regolith simulants using laser beams. This innovation could pave the way for the construction of roads and landing sites on the moon, for both manned and robotic missions.


The challenge in moon missions lies in dealing with moon dust, which tends to linger and can damage equipment due to the moon's low gravity. However, permanent moon bases require solid infrastructure, including roads and landing sites.


Transporting building materials from Earth to the moon is costly, making the utilization of available moon dust highly advantageous. This is where the PAVER project comes into play, paving the way for large-area sintering of regolith.


Scientists transformed moon dust-equivalent materials into robust pavers using laser beam melting. Experiments revealed that overlapping laser beams led to stress and cracks. Therefore, triangular geometric shapes were developed where laser traces do not overlap, making them ideal for road construction.


To transport the laser to the moon, BAM proposes a high refractive lens that could concentrate sunlight to replace the laser's intensity. This innovative concept could simplify transportation.


The project is funded by the ESA, and further experiments in collaboration with the ESA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) are planned.

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