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Esa scientists 3D print space bricks

Esa scientists 3D print space bricks

Space Bricks

Scientists at the European Space Agency (ESA) have created 3D-printed bricks using meteorite dust to explore the possibility of building structures on the Moon. These “space bricks” resemble LEGO blocks and offer a unique approach to constructing lunar infrastructure. The ESA team used dust from a 4.5-billion-year-old meteorite discovered in North-West Africa in 2000.

This meteorite dust is the closest material available on Earth to lunar regolith, the unconsolidated debris found on the Moon’s surface. To create the bricks, the scientists ground the meteorite into dust and mixed it with polylactide and regolith simulant before 3D printing. Although the bricks appear rough, they maintain the necessary clutch power for testing various building techniques.

3D-printed lunar construction materials

Aidan Cowley, ESA Science Officer, said, “No one has ever built structures on the moon, so we are working out how to construct them and what materials to use, given that we cannot source directly from the Moon at the moment.”

This project aims to evaluate whether local space materials can be used to build astronaut habitats and launch pads on the Moon, supporting NASA’s Artemis program. By successfully creating and testing these ESA Space Bricks on Earth, scientists gain valuable insights into potential building materials and techniques before actual lunar construction.

The ESA Space Bricks will also serve an educational purpose. Fifteen of these bricks will be displayed in select LEGO Stores globally, including locations in the USA, Canada, the UK, Germany, France, Denmark, Spain, and Australia, and at the LEGO House in Billund, Denmark, from June 24th to September 20th. The aim is to inspire children to learn more about space exploration and consider the possibilities of building their own moon shelters.

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This project reflects a blend of scientific exploration and playful creativity, capturing the imaginations of future generations while advancing the frontiers of space construction technology. Using meteorite dust and polymer could pave the way for more sustainable and cost-effective methods of building extraterrestrial habitats, pushing the boundaries of space exploration and construction.

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