Thursday, January 31, 2013

ESA: Building a Lunar Base with 3D Printing

For ESA's 3D-printed lunar base concept, Foster+Partners devised a weight-bearing ‘catenary’ dome design with a cellular structured wall to shield against micrometeoroids and space radiation, incorporating a pressurised inflatable to shelter astronauts [ESA/Foster+Partners].
Setting up a lunar base could be made much simpler by using a 3D printer to build it from local materials. Industrial partners including renowned architects Foster + Partners have joined with ESA to test the feasibility of 3D printing using lunar soil.

“Terrestrial 3D printing technology has produced entire structures,” said Laurent Pambaguian, heading the project for ESA.

“Our industrial team investigated if it could similarly be employed to build a lunar habitat.”

Foster + Partners devised a weight-bearing ‘catenary’ dome design with a cellular structured wall to shield against micrometeoroids and space radiation, incorporating a pressurised inflatable to shelter astronauts.

The UK’s Monolite supplied the D-Shape printer for ESA's 3D-printed lunar base study, with a mobile printing array of nozzles on a 6 meter frame to spray a binding solution onto a sand-like building material. 3D ‘printouts’ are built up layer by layer – the company more typically uses its printer to create sculptures and is working on artificial coral reefs to help preserve beaches from energetic sea waves. First the simulated lunar material with magnesium oxide – turning it into ‘paper’ to print with. Then for structural ‘ink’ a binding salt is applied which converts material to a stone-like solid [ESA/Monolite].
A hollow closed-cell structure – reminiscent of bird bones – provides a good combination of strength and weight.

The base’s design was guided in turn by the properties of 3D-printed lunar soil, with a 1.5 tonne building block produced as a demonstration.

“3D printing offers a potential means of facilitating lunar settlement with reduced logistics from Earth,” added Scott Hovland of ESA’s human spaceflight team.

Sculpture produced by Monolite using 3D printing [ESA/Monolite].
“The new possibilities this work opens up can then be considered by international space agencies as part of the current development of a common exploration strategy.”

“As a practice, we are used to designing for extreme climates on Earth and exploiting the environmental benefits of using local, sustainable materials,” remarked Xavier De Kestelier of Foster + Partners Specialist Modelling Group. “Our lunar habitation follows a similar logic.”

The UK’s Monolite supplied the D-Shape printer, with a mobile printing array of nozzles on a 6 m frame to spray a binding solution onto a sand-like building material.

This 1.5 metric tonne building block was produced as a demonstration of 3D printing techniques using lunar soil. The design is based on a hollow closed-cell structure – reminiscent of bird bones – to give a good combination of strength and weight [ESA].
3D ‘printouts’ are built up layer by layer – the company more typically uses its printer to create sculptures and is working on artificial coral reefs to help preserve beaches from energetic sea waves.

“First, we needed to mix the simulated lunar material with magnesium oxide. This turns it into ‘paper’ we can print with,” explained Monolite founder Enrico Dini.

“Then for our structural ‘ink’ we apply a binding salt which converts material to a stone-like solid.

“Our current printer builds at a rate of around 2 m per hour, while our next-generation design should attain 3.5 m per hour, completing an entire building in a week.”

Italian space research firm Alta SpA worked with Pisa-based engineering university Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna on adapting 3D printing techniques to a Moon mission and ensuring process quality control. The effect of working in a vacuum was also assessed.

“The process is based on applying liquids but, of course, unprotected liquids boil away in vacuum,” said Giovanni Cesaretti of Alta.

“So we inserted the 3D printer nozzle beneath the regolith layer. We found small 2 mm-scale droplets stay trapped by capillary forces in the soil, meaning the printing process can indeed work in vacuum.”

Simulated lunar regolith is produced for scientific testing by specialist companies, typically sold by the kilogram. But the team required many tonnes for their work.

“As another useful outcome, we discovered a European source of simulated lunar regolith,” added Enrico.

“Basaltic rock from one volcano in central Italy turns out to bear a 99.8% resemblance to lunar soil.”

“This project took place through ESA’s General Studies Programme, used to look into new topics,” Laurent commented.

“We have confirmed the basic concept, and assembled a capable team for follow-on work.”

Factors such as controlling lunar dust – hazardous to breathe in – and thermal factors will require further study.

3D printing works best at room temperature but over much of the Moon temperatures vary enormously across days and nights lasting two weeks each. For potential settlement, the lunar poles offer the most moderate temperature range.

Setting up a future lunar base could be made much simpler by using a 3D printer to build it from local materials. Industrial partners including renowned architects Foster+Partners have joined with ESA to test the feasibility of 3D printing using lunar soil.

The base is first unfolded from a tubular module that can be easily transported by space rocket. An inflatable dome then extends from one end of this cylinder to provide a support structure for construction. Layers of regolith are then built up over the dome by a robot-operated 3D printer (right) to create a protective shell [ESA/Foster+Partners].

9 comments:

tonyon said...

first easy travel to moon. Maglev&zipper for space elevator future

tonyon said...
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tonyon said...

(1a)... ☼ ← O ♦▬↔▬▬▬▬▬▬→▬▬▬☺ → ☼ ...space-elevator(railroad to the moon)...a hyper-speed vertical electric train of Magnetic Levitation with Moon destination...energy receiving from nuclear electric generator on Moon...with only emergency brake rockets...((from Earth, passengers in rocket to space-elevator of Moon located between 20,000 and 70,000 kms high...or...)) awaits passengers almost each perigee in the gyratory World´s around in 27.55 days Pendant♦Station, size as an aircraft carrier, located between 9 and 43,638 kms, "50000 + 9 - 6371" (by elliptic Moon orbit) from Earth surface, and by 1 track (1 train monorail, half length above half length below through Station´s floor, with thin sheet lead anti-radiations), carbon nanotubes track made in hinge joint sections, such as a bike chain drive (so, also the Station can modify its own height with 10 kms/hour speed, starting each perigee to preparing the height for the next (10 kms/h*24h*27.55 days = 6,612 kms max. height adjustment capacity for next perigee), staying almost all perigees at 9 kms height from Earth´s surface, going due to the continuous changes of Moon´s perigee, upwards for avoid Station crash against ground!!...or dowwards, by the zipper track carrying the track´s excess... Track with 387,883 kms in total length ((347,883 kms minimum length (356000 "approx. minimum distance between Earth/Moon centers" - 6371 "Earth med. radius" - 9 - 1737 "Moon radius") + 20,000 kms over Station + other 20,000 kms by security over Moon Station reserves length for Moon´s perigee changes, with situation lights along, little mirrors reflecting Sun light, and radar´s reflectors making well visible the Track for spacecrafts...)) at the upper end attached to the Moon surface...

tonyon said...

...space-elevator (a cable to the moon)... Train Moon space elevator is not possible, because if could climb (to orbital counterweight for sends away by pulley´s "clothesline" system installed previously from Moon◙══════◙Counterweight...) each perigee 1 section track with 100 mts in length, 13 perigees/year, and only could climb 10 sections/year = 1 km/year of Track, 380,000 kms would need 380,000 years! builds the total Track. Moon space elevator with cable, perhaps, orbital Station-counterweight located between 56,000 kms in perigee (36,000 kms for no collision with geostationary space-elevator of Earth + 20,000 kms possible difference of Moon´s perigee) and 106,000 kms in apogee (56,000 + 50,000 kms approx. difference Moon´s Apogee - Perigee) from Earth. 2 space-elevators, 1 in each cable pulley´s "clothesline", while one go up to Moon, the other go down to Earth. But...supposing a speed 100 kms/hour: 380,000 kms/100 = 3,800 hours, 5 months travelling...

tonyon said...

... ☼↓▓▬▬▬▬←▬▬▬▬▬↓☺▬▬▒→▬▬Space-elevator (orbital station centrifugal 1g)...faraway high beyond Earth surface at 183,754 kms...fast orbital speed 49,913 kms/hour...could be the counterweight great Terminal Orbital Station-1g centrifugal force... Awaits passengers in Earth Station a hyper-speed vertical electric train of Magnetic Levitation... "Spatial Train coming from Orbital Station-1g and Orbital Station-0g at the moment arriving will depart again after 1 hour, passengers with Moon destination please embark on ship-coach when will be hooked at train´s end"...medium-speed = 5,000 kms/hour: Earth/Orbital Station-0g, distance = 35,786 kms...total travel time = 7 hours... Orbital Station-0g/Orbital Station-1g, distance = 147,968 kms...total travel time = 29.6 hours... Well seized from retractable cogwheels, with slow-speed at the beginning travel of strong gravitation from Earth (or strong centrifugal force from Orbital Station-1g), with conventional zipper track... THE TRAIN DEPARTS►... starting horizontal when train goes climbing is vertical, living compartments turn 90º...already enough far, with little gravitational Earth attraction: MAGLEV on...Cogwheels off... Here we go...goooooo!...hyper-speed→...passengers stayed in comfortable compartments...←already braking enough near from each Station...slow-speed, changes propulsion system again: COGWHEELS on...Maglev off... 7 hours: half length above half length below through Station´s floor, Train is vertical at zero-speed, near from water-recycling plant with carbon nanotube´s filters, the passengers disembark at destination: Geo 0g-Station... Tour continuing again... THE TRAIN DEPARTS►... already arriving at dominant G centrifugal field...within of train, living compartments turn 180º... (braking...km 50,630: Launching Point, train is at zero-speed, rear ship-coach are released staying alone, again... THE TRAIN DEPARTS►... ship-coach, while Earth turns, awaits patient the hour for releasing from track and going to Moon with exact heading...now...takeoff and goes transferring orbits till Moon orbit where firing rocket again, brakes and lands on Moon☺Station, and once recharged with fuel and passengers return conventionally to Earth)... Already enough near from Terminal (electromagnetic shield anti-radiation and UV rays protection)...slowly by zipper track train´s cogwheels are braking strongly "downhill"... 29.6 hours: Train is horizontal on Terminal at zero-speed, near from ship´s launching-ramp towards Jupiter/interstellar Space, in spectacular and covered by transparent graphene´s domes with Earth views always in the ceiling, the passengers disembark at destination: counterweight centrifuge 1g-Station... "Be careful and not fall down outside from Station, because then...goodbye"... "Remember that still today from here, only can return to Earth on Train, due to high orbital Station´s speed which is higher than escape Earth´s speed"...

tonyon said...

...interstellar travel constant acceleration (Sun-Deneb: 1000g)... Earth...the 2 ships that will go formation flying for mutual assisting if there are problems, indestructible structures made of Hexapentas materials, awaiting in airport the arrival of passengers... Day 1: zero-speed... THE SHIPS TAKEOFF►... navigation computer places on screen the spacecraft in the center of sphere...spherical\tridimensional\spatial Heading: Deneb... Antimatter rocket engines...ON... Here we go...goooooo!...1g...10g...100g...constant acceleration cruise: 1000g (9.8 kms/sec²)... Inside of living areas (the same as going submerged in water: constant acceleration downwards...less...constant thrust, constant acceleration, from water upwards)...the gravitational transformers, perfectly synchronized with acceleration, running: 1000g constant acceleration toward the floor ↓↓(motors)↓↓...less...999g constant acceleration toward the ceiling ↑↑(gravitational transformers)↑ = 1g constant acceleration toward the floor↓... 8.5 hours: light-speed = 1c...the fusion reactor as an artificial sun illuminating the immense Vital Support Gardens to lowering, from their comfortable appartments, cheerful passage to the pool...the electromagnetic shield anti-radiations...antigravity fields generator run forward, working: light objects away from the path of the ship...and trajectory ship away from the heavy objects...superluminal-speed > 1c... 42.5 hours: reaches hyperluminal-speed = 5c... Day 508: Half Journey...1000 light years...high hyperluminal-speed = 1435.39c... OFF engines...a few minutes of weightlessness during maneuver...the ship rotates 180º around its axis...motors ON again and...◄starts to brake... Day 1017 (2.79 years): End Path party...2000 light years... zero-speed... The forever young passage of the 1st Immortal Generation (3D Bioprinting...Telomerase...modified Biological Timers...) disembarks at destination: an extra-stellar planet which came errant to orbit of Deneb giant.

tonyon said...

...interstellar travel (thousands G of constant acceleration)... gravitation, dimensions and inertia: the Matter... The electromagnetic radiation: quanta (pieces) of energy in discrete amounts (minumum and independents), photons, which move in waves... Why energy quanta (photons) are attracted by gravitational fields of "stellar lenses" curving their trajectories and move on?...go ahead because they have inertia...and are attracted because the Energy also has Gravitation, but does not manifest because it no emits Graviton, or emits in imperceptible degree, because it has to be condensed enough like in matter for that, but it is sensitive to Gravitation from Matter emits... Energy and Gravitation "associated"...and...the Gravitational Force is another manifestation, unknown yet, from Energy...(no "curvature" of that called "space-time" relativistic)...beyond any exorbitant density/temperature of the Energy...Gravity (→attraction←) becomes Antigravity (←repulsion→)...Big-Bang!!...its particle exchange, the theoretical Graviton yet...maybe "quanta of gravitational energy"... The Energy (e=mc²) is sensitive to Gravitation but hardly emits Graviton... The Matter, which is condensed Energy (m=e/c²), emits now Gravitons proportionally to its density... The Matter with normal density, naturally, emits few Gravitons (weak intensity of gravitational force). But...if someday could transform some of matter, not in Energy by annihilation with antimatter but entirely in Gravitational Force with an exponential Gravitons emission...would have a way to amplify the Gravitational Force a certain amount of mass...gravitational transformers...for spacecrafts to thousands G of constant acceleration...

tonyon said...

...3D Bioprinting-Immortality (mom-printer)...on wake up, but...if I am...and still so I remember all my Life in the ancient body before... On the body the important is the head, in the head the important is the brain, in the brain the important is...the Memory...which is, along with Genes and Image, simply, what we are. Your recorded Memory to the new, young, perfect, identical bioprinted body and...Immortality...already the accidents do not matter. The Memory is the "soul" (software), our body only is the "automobile" that transport us (hardware). (But...is that..."it" already would be not "Me", it would be a "cyborg/clone/avatar/frankenstein". Are you sure?, because to sleep, lose consciousness, "it" disappears every night (dies)...and wake up "it" appears every morning (rebirth)...and our MEMORY instantly auto-recognize us, the same in our own original body which in our new body... If we would have lost the Memory...we would have lost the Life).

tonyon said...

3D Bioprinting...will arrive in time for us the Fantastic Voyage towards the Immortal Future?...