Building a base on the Moon presents all sorts of logistical problems. Is there a short cut? Watch this hypothetical mission to 3D-print an entire a lunar base.
The Moon doesn’t have an atmosphere like Earth, which protects us from the dangers of outer space. Therefore, a lunar base will need a thick layer of protection to be viable. A lunar lander can bring to the South Pole of the Moon an inflatable dome and two 3-D printers. The 3-D printer consists of three primary components. At one end is a scoop that collects regolith (moon dust), the material that will cover the dome of the lunar base. In the middle is a tank containing the printing materials, and at the opposite end is a robotic arm and printing head. The printing head uses the regolith to create a hollow, closed cellular structure, which creates a shell over the dome to protect the inhabitants from gamma rays, meteoroids, and extreme temperatures.