Where will astronauts live on the Moon? NASA already has the answer: in 3D-printed units powered by solar panels.
NASA’s large-scale mission Artemis is a multi-step, decades-long project with the ultimate goal of extending human civilization to the Moon. The third phase is planned to send humans again in 2025 for the first time since 1972. Of course, in order to keep astronauts there in the longer term, they need to establish a habitable base. Scientists now know not only where they will be built, but also what technology they will use: NASA is cooperating with the AI SpaceFactory to develop this.
As part of the LINA (Lunar Infrastructure Asset) program, the Lunar South Pole was chosen as the site for the settlement because of its almost constant sunlight, which is ideal for solar panels to power the space base. The structure will be designed to be streamlined and durable, as it will have to protect people from solar flares, possible impacts, lunar tremors, and extremely low temperatures. The base is expected to remain in place for up to 50 years and can be expanded as needed. Another big issue is ensuring water supply: the researchers currently trust that the dark areas, which are constantly in shadow, contain water, and one of the mission’s main tasks will be to find and extract it.
In parallel with LINA, NASA is also developing MARSHA, a mission for human habitat on Mars. The special “Martian polymer” used for this purpose was developed in an international competition and was one of five winning innovations that will help create a habitable environment on Mars for the four astronauts expected to be sent there between 2030 and 2040.
Photos: NASA/Frank Michaux