Tag: moon

Texas Company Aims to 3D-Print Buildings on the Moon

Article by Mike Wall                                      October 2, 2020                                   (space.com)

• The Austin-based company ICON, known for 3D-printing houses here on Earth, just launched Project Olympus to develop a space-based construction system to help get a foothold on the Moon and Mars. “From the very founding of ICON, we’ve been thinking about off-world construction,” said ICON CEO Jason Ballard. “I am confident that learning to build on other worlds will also provide the necessary breakthroughs to solve housing challenges we face on this world.”

• Project Olympus recently signed a four-year, $14.55M Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) deal with the U.S. Air Force to expand the capabilities of its 3D-printing tech. NASA is contributing 15% of the SBIR funding.

• NASA’s interest in ICON’s 3D-printing construction tech is tied to the Artemis program for manned lunar exploration and permanent base on the Moon by 2030. Making this happen will require extensive use of lunar resources, including water ice (for life support and rocket fuel) and moon dirt (for building materials). A similar devotion to “living off the land” will likely be necessary for sustained human exploration of Mars.

• ICON will partner with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama to test a variety of processing and printing technologies using simulated lunar soil. “We want to increase the technology readiness level and test systems to prove it would be feasible to develop a large-scale 3D printer that could build infrastructure on the Moon or Mars,” said Corky Clinton, associate director of Marshall’s Science and Technology Office. “The team will use what we learn from the tests with the lunar simulant to design, develop and demonstrate prototype elements for a full-scale additive construction system.”

• ICON is also teaming with two architecture firms on the program – SEArch+ (Space Exploration Architecture) and Denmark-based BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group. “To explain the power of architecture, ‘formgiving’ is the Danish word for design, which literally means to give form to that which has not yet been given form,” said Bjarke Ingels, creative director at the BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group. “This becomes fundamentally clear when we venture beyond Earth and begin to imagine how we are going to build and live on entirely new worlds.”

• “With ICON, we are pioneering new frontiers – both materially, technologically and environmentally,” Ingels said. “The answers to our challenges on Earth very well might be found on the Moon.”

 

                         Jason Ballard

A Texas company aims to take its innovative homebuilding approach into the final frontier.

Austin-based startup ICON, known for 3D-printing houses here on Earth, just launched Project Olympus,

                 Corky Clinton

an ambitious effort to develop a space-based construction system. The program will eventually help humanity get a foothold on the moon and Mars, if all goes according to plan.

“From the very founding of ICON, we’ve been thinking about off-world construction. It’s a surprisingly natural progression if you are asking about the ways additive construction and 3D printing can create a better future for humanity,” ICON co-founder and CEO Jason Ballard said in a company statement.

“I am confident that learning to build on other worlds will also provide the necessary breakthroughs to solve housing challenges we face on this world,” Ballard said. “These are mutually reinforcing endeavors.”

Project Olympus will get a boost from a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract that ICON recently signed with the U.S. Air Force to expand the capabilities of its 3D-printing tech.

The four-year deal is worth $14.55 million, according to the Austin Business Journal. (You can find the outlet’s story

           Bjarke Ingels

here, but it’s behind a paywall.) NASA is contributing 15% of the SBIR sum, ICON representatives told Space.com.

NASA’s interest in ICON’s tech makes sense. The space agency is working, via its Artemis program of crewed lunar exploration, to establish a long-term human presence on and around the moon by the end of the 2020s. Making this happen will require extensive use of lunar resources, including water ice (for life support and rocket fuel) and moon dirt (for building materials), NASA officials have stressed.

A similar devotion to “living off the land” will likely be necessary for sustained human exploration of Mars, an ambitious goal that Artemis will inform and advance, NASA officials have said.

As part of the newly announced SBIR deal, ICON will partner with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama to test a variety of processing and printing technologies using simulated lunar soil. The research will build upon tech that ICON demonstrated in 2018 during NASA’s 3D Printed Habitat Challenge, company representatives said.

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Scientists Find Moon’s Radiation Levels 200 Times Higher Than on Earth

Article by Sabastian Kettely                                       September 25, 2020                                     (express.co.uk)

• Knowing how radiation on the Moon affects the body is critical for long-term missions. The next generation of US astronauts is expected to return to the Moon by 2024 with NASA’s Artemis program. By 2028, the NASA hopes to establish a “sustained presence” on the Moon. But the further we travel into the solar system, the more that space radiation becomes a major threat. A journey to Mars, for instance, would last between six and eight months and expose astronauts to unprecedented levels of radiation.

• In January 2019, the Chinese Chang’e 4 probe, which landed on the far side of the Moon, took the first measurements of radiation levels on the lunar surface. The Moon might also be more hazardous than previously thought. According to the data received from German-built Lunar Lander Neutron and Dosimetry (LND) instrument attached to the Chinese probe, the Moon’s radiation levels are 60 microsieverts per hours, or more than 200 times higher than the radiation measurements on Earth.

• In space, most radiation is high-energy protons streaming from the Sun, traveling 93 million miles in less than an hour. On Earth, the planet’s magnetic bubble, or the ‘magnetosphere’, protects us from most of this radiation. But in space, spacecraft and spacesuits are much more vulnerable.

• Astronauts flying to the Moon would be exposed to the radiation for many days, which represents an additional risk. Ruthan Lewis, an engineer for NASA’s human spaceflight program, said, “The danger of radiation is always present, whether you’re in orbit, in transit, or on a planetary surface.” Christine Hellweg from the German Aerospace Center noted that by studying and preventing an astronaut’s exposure to radiation, their risk of getting cancer and other diseases could thus be reduced during long-term stays on the Moon. Dr Wimmer-Schweingruber of Kiel University added, “[I]f a manned mission departs to Mars, the new findings enable us to reliably estimate the anticipated radiation exposure in advance.”

• These findings will be critical for future missions to the Moon and Mars. Robert Wimmer-Schweingruber says, “We humans are not really made to withstand space radiation. “[A]stronauts can and should shield themselves as far as possible during longer stays on the Moon, for example, by covering their habitat with a thick layer of lunar soil.”

 

              Chinese Chang’e 4 probe

The Moon is the farthest humans have ever travelled beyond Earth, starting and ending with NASA’s Apollo programme in the 1960s and 1970s.

Dr Robert Wimmer-  Schweingruber

Further travel into the solar system is fraught by many perils, technological and natural alike, with space radiation being a major threat. A journey to Mars, for instance, would last between six and eight months and expose astronauts to unprecedented levels of radiation.

But the first measurements of radiation levels on the lunar surface show the Moon might also be more hazardous than previously thought.

          Ruthan Lewis

The measurements were carried out in January 2019 by the Chinese Chang’e 4 probe that landed on the far side of the Moon.

In a new study published in Science Advances, Chinese and German scientists have reported the data the probe has collected.
And the results are stark – the Moon’s radiation levels are more than 200 times higher than on Earth.

The measurements were made by the German-built Lunar Lander Neutron and Dosimetry (LND) instrument attached to

      Christine Hellweg

the Chinese probe.

The data was then used to calculate the so-called equivalent dose, which is the measure of the biological effect of radiation.

In space, most of this radiation is high-energy particles streaming from the Sun – protons that can travel 93 million miles in less than an hour.
On Earth, the planet’s magnetic bubble, the magnetosphere, protects us from most of this radiation.

But in space, spacecraft and spacesuits are much more vulnerable.

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Russian Cosmonauts On How to Greet Extraterrestrials

September 24, 2020                                (sputniknews.com)

• On September 24th, Russian cosmonaut Sergei Kud-Sverchkov spoke at a press conference organized by the government news agency, Rossiya Segodnya. Flight engineer Kud-Sverchkov will join mission commander Sergei Ryzhikov and NASA astronaut Kathleen Rubins in the ‘Expedition 64’ (all pictured above) to the International Space Station in October. This will be Kud-Sverchkov’s first flight to space.

• Russian scientists join with those from other countries in the search for extraterrestrial life, making plans to launch multiple new scientific missions to the Moon, Mars and Venus, and, earlier this year, announcing the construction of a high-powered telescope that can be used to search for signals from extraterrestrial civilizations transmitted in the optical spectrum.

• In 2012, veteran cosmonaut Gennady Padalka told Chinese media that “detailed instructions” had been created at the United Nations “in case of first contact” with extraterrestrial beings. He added at the time that “sooner or later we will meet our like-minded brothers” from another planet.

• However, Kud-Sverchkov sats that Russian cosmonauts have not been given any special instructions when it comes to greeting aliens, but would try to do so in a diplomatic matter. “I think that when meeting intelligence extraterrestrial life, we will exhibit friendliness, goodwill and consideration, just as we do when meeting intelligent and unintelligent life on Earth,” the cosmonaut said.

• The Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft will blast off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on October 14th upon a Soyuz-2.1 ‘carrier rocket’. The spacecraft expected to reach the ISS in a record 3 hours, 20 minutes. The mission will last until April 2021, during which the team will activate the Bartolomeo scientific platform outside the European Space Agency’s Columbus lab module. Ryzhikov, Kud-Sverchkov and Rubins will be joined by three more NASA astronauts and a Japanese astronaut, who will make their way to the ISS in a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule shortly after the Soyuz craft’s arrival.

• A cosmonaut doll knitted by Kud-Sverchkov’s wife will become the expedition’s mascot, named Yuri after Yuri Gagarin, the first human being in space. Mission commander Ryzhikov told reporters that he would take with him a miniaturized set of Gospels, as well as a handful of Russian soil and stones from Mount Tabor, which Christians believe was the site of the transfiguration of Jesus following his resurrection.

• NASA astronaut Kathleen Rubins said she plans to collect thousands of microbial samples inside the space station, and revealed that she plans to vote in the US presidential election from aboard the ISS.

 

    Sergei Kud-Sverchkov

As one of the world’s major space powers, Russia has done its part helping humanity search for extraterrestrial life,

                      Kathleen Rubins

recently beginning the construction of a powerful telescope capable of searching for signals coming from distant alien civilisations.

Russian cosmonauts have not been given any special instructions when it comes to greeting aliens, but would try to do so in a diplomatic matter, cosmonaut Sergei Kud-Sverchkov has said.

“I think that when meeting intelligence extraterrestrial life, we will exhibit friendliness, goodwill and consideration, just as we do when meeting intelligent and unintelligent life on Earth,” the cosmonaut said, speaking at a press conference organized by Rossiya Segodnya, on Thursday.

Kud-Sverchkov will join mission commander Sergei Ryzhikov in Expedition 64 to the International Space Station in

              Sergei Ryzhikov

October as a flight engineer. This will be his first flight to space.
The Soyuz MS-17 spacecraft will carry the two Russian cosmonauts and NASA astronaut Kathleen Rubins to the ISS aboard a Soyuz-2.1a carrier rocket blasting off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on October 14,

        Yuri Gagarin

with the spacecraft expected to reach its destination in a record 3 hours, 20 minutes.

Kud-Sverchkov says a knitted cosmonaut doll named Yuri will become the mascot for Expedition 64, with the doll knitted by his wife, and named after Yuri Gagarin, the first human being in space.

Mission commander Ryzhikov told reporters that he would take with him a miniaturized Gospels, as well as a handful of Russian soil and stones from Mount Tabor, which Christians believe was the site of the transfiguration of Jesus following his resurrection.

For her part, NASA astronaut Kathleen Rubins said her plans include work collecting thousands of microbial samples inside the space station, and revealed that she plans to vote in the US presidential election from aboard the ISS.

 

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