Design Engineering

Future Chinese mission to test 3D printing on the Moon

By DE Staff   

Additive Manufacturing Aerospace

Chang'e 8 lunar mission to explore constructing buildings from lunar regolith.

(Photo credit: NASA)

China Daily reports that the China National Space Administration will use its future Chang’e 8 lunar mission to test the feasibility of 3D print buildings on the lunar surface. According to Wu Weiren, China’s lunar program chief planner, Chang’e 8’s robotic probe will land on the moon’s south pole to investigate mineral composition to see if 3D printing is possible using lunar materials.

“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,” he said in an interview with China Daily. “Lunar soil will be our raw material and it will be printed into construction units. Professors at several domestic universities, such as Tongji University in Shanghai and Xi’an Jiaotong University in Shaanxi province, have already begun studying the possible applications of 3D printing technology on the moon.”

Chang’e 8 is part of a series of Chinese lunar missions. In January 2019, Chang’e 4 mission became the first to land on far side of the moon in the Von Karman crater. The Chang’e 5 mission retrieved soil samples from the moon’s near side while the future Chang’e 6 robotic mission will retrieve soil and rock samples from the far side of the moon. The Chang’e 7 robotic probe will investigate the moon’s South Pole, the Chinese space agency says.



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