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(Credit: NASA/USC)
(Credit: NASA/USC)

Using 3-D printers to colonize the Moon

Technology known as contour crafting could provide an economically viable and reliable building system for construction in space. This technology uses 3-D printing to build cement buildings at a relatively fast pace. The Washington Post explains this technology was developed by revamping a construction system pioneered by Behrokh Khoshnevis ten years ago.

Construction with contour crafting. (Credit: NASA/USC)

Khoshnevis, a professor and director of the University of Southern California’s manufacturing engineering graduate program, was awarded a $500,000 grant from NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts division to develop automated building technology that will allow scientists to build structures on planets and moons. The Washington Post points out that earlier lunar construction proposals “were based on taking materials to the moon for assembly.” But Khoshnevis’s contour crafting offers a significantly less costly solution. He states, “Use the material that’s there and then use robotic systems that will take energy from the sun to operate instead.”

Khoshnevis’s system brings space construction closer to reality. But it is reportedly still decades away from being utilized to construct buildings on the Moon.

About Jason McClellan

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Jason McClellan is a UFO journalist and the producer/co-host of the web series Spacing Out! He is also the web content manager and staff writer for OpenMinds.tv, and a co-organizer and technical producer of the International UFO Congress. As a founding member of Open Minds, Jason served as a writer and editor for the now defunct Open Minds magazine. He has appeared on Syfy, NatGeo, and, most recently, he co-starred on H2's Hangar 1: The UFO Files. ------ Follow Jason on Twitter @acecentric and subscribe to Jason's updates on Facebook.

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