NASA Aims To Build a Home on the Moon by 2040, & You Could Even Rent It Like an Airbnb

By 2040, you could very well have a chance of spending your holiday week on the moon — that is, if NASA manages to pull off its ambitious project.

Just recently, the U.S.-based space agency awarded a contract worth nearly US$60 million to a construction technology firm called ICON that will help it construct a livable home on Earth’s only natural satellite, not just for astronauts, but also for civilians.

Currently, plans for the structure are in its nascent stages, but reports have revealed that it will be constructed by way of 3D-printing, with a giant printer launched to the moon that will use lunar concrete made from rocks, minerals, and moon dust to create layers that will eventually form the home.

IMAGE: ICON

Additionally, NASA has consulted with universities and other private firms to provide fittings such as doors, windows, tiles, furniture, and other similar components for the home.

The blueprint already exists.

ICON already constructs buildings using 3D-printing via its Vulcan system, which uses filament made of cement, sand, and water to create structural components separately. These components, such as walls and roofs, are then put together later down the line.

So far, the system has been able to produce structures in as little as 48 hours, as exemplified through the over 100-or-so homes already built in Austin, Texas using this method.

But for the moon home, things won’t be as simple as building structures on Earth, with ICON having stated the importance of providing protection against things like radiation and micrometeorites.

And then there’s also the whole process of NASA having to design a fool-proof way of getting the 3D printer to the moon in the first place.

For example, the agency will need to prepare landing pads for the rockets carrying the equipment, which will need to be positioned away from habitats due to the amount of dust and debris kicked up during landing and takeoff.

The printer itself will also need to be able to withstand the vacuum conditions of the moon and the radiation levels of space.

“To change the space exploration paradigm from ‘there and back again’ to ‘there to stay’, we’re going to need robust, resilient, and broadly capable systems that can use the local resources of the moon and other planetary bodies,” said Jason Ballard, co-founder and CEO of ICON.

IMAGE: ICON

Eyes on Mars, and more humans in space.

Indeed, this project is only a step in the larger picture of housing people on Mars in the future, with the eventual goal being to set up a base of operations for astronauts and other space-farers who might want to one day stay for extended periods of time on the planet.

Speaking to the New York Times, 71-year-old Raymond Clinton, the deputy director of the science and technology office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, said that he doesn’t see typical civilian Americans (and by assumed association, the rest of humanity) living on the moon in his lifetime, but he sure hopes that it could become possible for the generations following that.

Considering how exciting it all sounds, we sure hope for the same, too.

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Cover image sourced from The U.S. Sun and Daily Mail.

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