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China tests out 3D printing for lunar habitation

China tests out 3D printing for lunar habitation

In an attempt to solidify plans for long-term lunar habitation, Beijing plans to use 3D printing to construct buildings on the moon, China Daily reported on Monday.

An uncrewed probe on China’s 2020 lunar mission, Chang’e 5, named after the mythical Chinese moon goddess, brought back the first lunar soil samples from the moon. China plans to land an astronaut on the moon by 2030.

China plans to launch Chang’e 6, 7, and 8 missions between now and then, with the latter to discover reusable resources on the moon for long-term human habitation.

Quoting Wu Weiren, a scientist at the China National Space Administration, China Daily reported that the Chang’e 8 probe will conduct on-site investigations of the environment and mineral composition. It will also determine whether technologies such as 3D printing can be deployed on the lunar surface.

Photo from NASA/Unsplash

Wu said, “If we wish to stay on the moon for a long time, we need to set up stations by using the moon’s own materials.”

Earlier this month, Chinese media reported that China plans to build a lunar base in five years using soil from the moon.

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According to a Chinese Academy of Engineering expert, a robot that makes “lunar soil bricks” will be launched as part of Chang’e 8 around 2028.

Recently, the race to land on the moon has intensified, particularly with the United States.

As part of the Artemis II mission planned for late 2024, NASA and Canada’s space agency named four astronauts to fly by the moon for the first time in decades.

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