SOLID STRUC­TURES 3D-PRINTED FROM ‘MAR­TIAN SOIL’

BBC Earth (Asia) - - Update -

They may look like some­thing you wouldn’t want to tread in, but these 3D-printed struc­tures could one day help us to build a colony on Mars.

The minia­ture igloo and cor­ner wall were man­u­fac­tured by a team of re­searchers at the Euro­pean Space Agency, who were in­ves­ti­gat­ing the feasibility of one day us­ing lo­cally sourced ma­te­ri­als for build­ing on Mars and other plan­ets. The struc­tures were pro­duced by mix­ing JSC-Mars1A – volcanic soil that has un­der­gone care­ful pro­cess­ing to match the known com­po­si­tion and char­ac­ter­is­tics of Mar­tian soil – with phos­phoric acid, then squeez­ing it through a noz­zle and de­posit­ing it in suc­ces­sive lay­ers.

“The hard­ened re­sults demon­strate the tech­nique has po­ten­tial for hard­ware and struc­tural man­u­fac­tur­ing on a va­ri­ety of plan­e­tary bod­ies – it does not de­pend on the des­ti­na­tion,” said re­searcher Christoph Buch­ner.

The 3D-printed test ob­jects rep­re­sent the types of struc­tures that Mars colonists would need to build to sur­vive, and mark an ex­cit­ing step for­wards for what the re­searchers call ‘in-situ re­source util­i­sa­tion’ – the con­cept of us­ing lo­cally sourced ma­te­ri­als as much as pos­si­ble on plan­e­tary mis­sions, in an ef­fort to min­imise the space­craft’s pay­load on launch.

These tiny ob­jects are proof that 3D print­ing with mod­i­fied Mar­tian soil is

fea­si­ble

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Singapore

© PressReader. All rights reserved.