3-D Printers to Make Tools Using Moon Rocks

Geo Beats
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3-D printers are slated to make tools form moon rocks.

When considering space travel, the issue of hauling materials and how to make the load lighter inevitably comes up.

3-D print manufacturing has been offered as a solution, and new tests have shown that 3-D printing from minerals and metals like those found on the surface crust of the moon and Mars can work.

For the trial, NASA sent researchers from Washington State University some material similar to moon rocks to see if they could create 3-D prints of objects.

By adjusting various settings on a manufacturing machine called the Optomec LENS-750, the team was able to fashion objects from the synthetic moon rock.

They were also able to create bricks from the simulated moon dust, which could then be used to build structures from indigenous space materials.

David Woods, author of How Apollo Flew to the Moon, told the BBC: “It's better to be able to live off the land. That's why scientists are so interested in water at poles, and the fact Moon dust works well with microwaves and could theoretically be used to make a paved surface if you created roads. Such technologies are untested but they do open up the possibility of future colonization of the Moon, even if only for scientific purposes."

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