The European Space Agency's plan for a lunar base, built by robots & 3D printers [video]



The video below shows an elaborate plan by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the architectural firm Foster + Partners to design a permanent lunar research base, capable of housing scientists.

The most exciting part isn't really the idea of a lunar base. There are all kinds of plans out there for everything from underwater mega cities to cloud cities above Venus. It remains to be seen which, if any of these things will come to pass.

The most exciting thing about the ESA plan is how incredibly possible it is using current technology. The plan involves putting a lander on the moon carrying an inflatable dome and some robots. The robots are a sort of a cross between a small bulldozer and a 3D printer. The robots are used to build a structure over the inflatable dome, essentially creating the outer structure of the moon base before any humans even arrive.

Whether or not the plan is ever put into motion, the idea could help considerably with putting human settlements on Mars. One of the most difficult periods for a Mars settlement will be the time between the arrival of "colonists" and the construction of shelters. After a minimum of 6 months in space, the settlers will be anxious to get out of their spacecraft and away, at least temporarily, from their shipmates. It would help considerably if the shelters were already in place.

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