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].

14 comments:

tonyon said...

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

tonyon said...
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tonyon said...
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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...
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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?...

tonyon said...

...3D Bioprinting-Immortality...((sugar cotton fibers produced by centrifuge machines are even finer...capillaries are between 2 tenth and 1 hundredth of a millimeter in diameter...perhaps... Could be used these machines adapted as "biocentrifuges" to make capillary micro-tubes with a biodegradable and binder yarn of sugar inside coated with endothelial cells?))... Network capillary-skeleton, porosity among adjacent cells, A FINE MESH OF FIBROUS CONNECTIVE TISSUE fastening the cells: collagen?...fibrin? a blood´s protein in salty water insoluble who forms the cell´s-subjection-mesh of blood-coagula... SUITABLE POROSITY: both capillary networks (blood and lymphatic) have a natural aleatory distribution (Better or Worse Equidistance in each organism, better or worse equal feeding to ALL tissue´s cells) of MESH´S HOLES (in blood capillaries: exit for plasma with O2, nutrients, leukocytes...or entrance for O2. In lymphatic capillaries: entrance for surplus lymph with cellular refuses lactic acid, etc...who cause muscular fatigue). Maybe the better or worse equidistant porosity of skeleton-mesh cell´s-subjection in each capillary tube, besides genetic, a natural cause for to win or not to win a medal in Olympic Games.

tonyon said...
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tonyon said...

(1)...interstellar travel (to the third world)... we come in our ship from faraway...are reaching finally, that star they call Sun...our destiny that third planet is distinguished from the others aridly and barrens with its luminescent blue against the dark background of the Universe...now we are under its spell...they call the Earth...we pick up its broadcastings TV...we are hearing the stories that they tell...they speak strangely but we understand... We see at its inhabitants, the human beings very similar to us, outside... We have been studying them in their lifestyles, some in developed places with high level, and others in those other places to that they call...The Third World...suffering, hunger, malnutrition, war, calamities and horror against the feeble... There´s no limit to what we feel... Are we dreaming or is it all real?...is it true?... We see at their leaders to they call religious...(Torquemadas who where "executioners" against the Human Beings in the Middle Age with their Inquisition on behalf of their sanguinary gods...and still have the arrogance to put their secret and sectarian religious symbols (channel TV Discovery Max, "secret societies") in popular bank note 1 dollar, if anyone doubt who governs in the shadow the World)...well fattened in their golden palaces... while children perish converted into skeleton with some skin and eyes full of flies, in the arms of their horrified mothers who do not have even a glass of clean water to drink them...religious and political leaders who are purposely keeping the horror because WITHOUT POOR AND IGNORANT THERE IS NOT RELIGION... Have to separate between the worthy concept, strictly personal, believing in a Goddess or a God (wheat) and Humankind´s anxiety of Eternity;...from the manipulation and interested ancient Lie that is religion (darnel)... religions only are a Malign Tale for social control to serve at pontifices, monarchies and politicians...who hypocritically first created the poor..."the poor are always with us"...and after give them an alms... IT´S TRUTH THAT RELIGION IS LIE

tonyon said...
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tonyon said...

...space-elevator (orbital-station bike wheel-1g)... geostationary orbit, a huge "bike-wheel" is gyrating around its own axis for have 1g-centrifugal. Wheel held in place wit 4 CABLES (two of them with a track for Train) FORMING THE STRUCTURE OF A RHOMBUS♦ (minor diagonal of rhombus is the gyration-axis of the Station-Wheel)...rhombus´s below, the carbon nanotubes Track towards Earth...rhombus´s above, the Cable towards the higher counterweight...if...WHEEL´s RADIUS = 250 mts... Wheel gyration´s Axis length = rhombus´s minor diagonal = Wheel´s radius = 250 mts... Cable´s length of the rhombus´s side = Wheel diameter = 500 mts. Wheel´s ZONE-1g: habitable length = 1571 mts*50 mts wide*50 mts height, gyrating 360º each 31 seconds, angular-speed = 11.61º/sec, linear-speed = 182 kms/h... Station-Wheel´s GYRATION: AXIS IN PERPENDICULAR (90º) ORIENTATION TO THE ORBITAL TRAJECTORY...and so, while Station-Wheel follows its geostationary orbit, the Wheel does Not changes the spatial-orientation of its axis, and thus there are Not Precession forces actuating (and thus there is Not collision tendency of the Station-Wheel against the rhombus´s cables...but the system must supporting lateral charges against Track produced by the Coriolis effect when Train goes upwards or downwards...), the gyroscopic-rigidity contributes for maintaining forever the gyration-axis perpendicular to orbital trajectory... When the Maglev Train slowly arrives, using now their retractable cogwheels by the Zipper-Track (zippers installed on the same Maglev-Track), Train stops in Geo 0g-Station placed over one extreme of the gyration-axis... Passengers disembark and entering into gyratory circular corridor, they take now the interior-elevator of one of the Wheel´s hollow-radius, and tunnel "descending" till Hotel into the final Zone-1g...where while Station-Wheel goes turning, the immense O2 producer Hydroponics Garden receives a filtered Sun light...and there are Earth´s awesome views.