Journeys to the moon are undertaking more and more; before, it was a feat to simply set foot on the moon, but now that we’ve done that, new endeavors are being planned, especially by Russia.
A spokesperson for the country’s space corporation Roscosmos told Russian state-owned news agency TASS that they’re working on building a lunar base on the moon by 2040.
How will they do this? With 3D printing technologies that use lunar soil.
The lunar base is the final part of a three-stage program which begins with sending a spacecraft to orbit the moon, according to The Moscow Times. Stage two, expected to take place between 2025 and 2034, will be sending a manned mission to the moon for the purpose of beginning construction on the base.
Stage three, of course, will involve completing the lunar base, utilizing “additive technologies and local resources” for the “construction of large-scale structures,” said the Roscosmos spokesperson, who also noted that this third stage would include “furnishing scientific and industrial objects with equipment.”
They plan on creating structures with the capability of supporting astronaut life on the moon, as well.
In the past, Dmitry Rogozin, the Director-General of Roscosmos, told the Russian news agency RIA Novosti that the 3D printing will be used to create repair equipment as well as new parts for the technology to reduce the need for resupply missions.
The Russian aerospace company NPO Lavochkin also said that the 3D printing technology would use solar energy as its power source and moon dust as its resource for creating objects.
"We're talking about creating a long-term base, not constantly manned, but visitable," Rogozin told RIA Novosti in November of 2018. Therefore, Roscosmos plans to have “avatars” on the lunar base controlled by humans on Earth.
NASA also has plans in mind for creating a permanent presence on the moon – just one of the steps towards finally reaching Mars – and plans to begin sustainable lunar surface missions before 2030, conducted from NASA’s lunar “Gateway,” a small spaceship meant to hold both astronauts and science experiments while it orbits the moon.
Next on NASA’s agenda, however, is getting the first woman on the moon, and they plan to accomplish this mission, called “Artemis,” by 2024. Many challenges need yet to be overcome to make it possible for people to be on the moon for any extended amount of time, however, so the next several years are full of research, experiments, and trials.