via De Zeen
Foster + Partners is exploring the possibilities of 3D printing buildings on the moon using lunar soil.
The London architecture firm is working with the European Space Agency to investigate methods for constructing lunar homes and has designed a four-person residence that would shelter its inhabitants from dramatically changing temperatures, meteorites and gamma radiation.
The base of the house would be unpacked from a modular tube and an inflatable dome would fold up over it. Layers of lunar soil, known as regolith, would then be built up around the frame using a robot-operated D-Shape printer, creating a lightweight foam-like formation that is derived from biological structures commonly found in nature.
"As a practice, we are used to designing for extreme climates on earth and exploiting the environmental benefits of using local, sustainable materials," said Foster + Partners partner and specialist Xavier De Kestelier. “Our lunar habitation follows a similar logic. It has been a fascinating and unique design process, which has been driven by the possibilities inherent in the material.”
(h/t Bruce Sterling)