Bake Moondust into Moon Bricks with this "Simple" Recipe

Khryss | Published 2017-05-04 19:25
For those who have been fascinated by the beauty of the moon, you might want to check this out as scientists make art with your dear lunar! Space junkies and those who are looking forward to relocate in the Moon, this new 3d printed bricks might just be the walls of your future home on the lunar beaut! Today might just be called the age of extraterrestrial masonry- first the Martian soil and now the moondust! What's next? [embed][/embed] “We took simulated lunar material and cooked it in a solar furnace,” says engineer Advenit Makaya, overseeing the project for ESA. “This was done on a 3D printer table, to bake successive 0.1 mm layers of moondust at 1000°C. We can complete a 20 x 10 x 3 cm brick for building in around five hours." The simulated lunar soil is actually from a terrestrial volcanic material, processed to mimic the composition and grain sizes of real moondust. And as for the Sun's heat, a solar furnace has been used at the DLR German Aerospace Center. 147 curved mirrors focus sunlight into a high-temperature beam to melt the soil together but since the weather on Europe "does not always cooperate," an array of Xenon lamps that are found in most cinema projectors are used for back-up. The result? Not really yummy but very sturdy bricks! The baked bricks have the equivalent strength of gypsum- one of the ingredients in making industrial cement. But these bricks are warped from the edges for the sides cool faster than the center. “We’re looking how to manage this effect, perhaps by occasionally accelerating the printing speed so that less heat accumulates within the brick. But for now this project is a proof of concept, showing that such a lunar construction method is indeed feasible,” said Makaya. Now that living like Luke in Tattooine is possible in the future, all we need now is some blue milk.
Hey! Where are you going?? Subscribe!

Get weekly science updates in your inbox!