The world still marks the historic landingChinese spacecraft "Chang'e-4" on the far side of the moon, which occurred on January 3. Last month, the Celestial Empire also announced its future plans for the development of the Earth satellite. Within their framework, it is expected to send three missions, which will have to lay the foundation for the start of the construction of the lunar base. The colonization of the moon and other planets in the solar system has always been a topic of inspiration. Technological advances and the discovery of significant reserves of water closer to the moon poles made this idea even more attractive. But as far as the same China approached the actual implementation of this idea?
If to speak only in terms of available onCurrently technology, the Celestial is able to start building a lunar base right now, according to the portal Space.com. But, apparently, not everything is so simple.
First Moon Base
The first lunar base is likely to beto be an uninhabited station, all work on which will be performed by robots. It will look similar to the way Amazon’s warehouse robots work, which it uses in large quantities. Creating a fully autonomous robotic station will allow you to lay down the infrastructure that will be vital for those who later arrive on the moon with one goal - to stay here to live.
The lunar environment is a cosmic vacuum,extremely low and high temperatures, solar radiation and other conditions obviously unsuitable for humans. We still do not know much about the effect that a long stay in its environment can have on the human body. Nevertheless, thanks to the same vigorous actions of China, some questions already get answers.
Cotton seeds sent to the moon along withmission "Chang'e-4", gave rise. This is the first time in history that a plant has been grown on the moon. And this case opens the way to the possibility of growing food on Earth’s satellite in a lunar base, providing the food needs of the colonists.
If we discard the environmental issues, constructionthe lunar base will not differ much from the construction of the first oil rig in the ocean. It is necessary to carry out reconnaissance of the area (in our case, to collect and carry out an analysis of soil samples), to conduct feasibility studies, and also to deal with the logistics of delivery of oversized cargo. Everything, you can fly.
China has already taken the first step in this chain - took upexploration of the area. If we talk about exactly where the base will be built, then at the moment the most promising option is to build a dwelling just under the lunar surface. Everything is very simple: the construction of underground dwellings and infrastructure will protect them from the harsh surface conditions of the surrounding lunar environment.
No 3D printing anywhere
Among all available at the momenttechnologies for the construction of the lunar base the most effective and promising option is the technology of 3D printing. On Earth, 3D printing has already proven its worth, successfully entrenched in the construction, automotive, aerospace, medical, and military industries, reducing both production costs and waste volumes.
Technology every year becomes everythingperfect, new 3D printing methods are being developed. All this clearly shows that 3D printing will be a revolutionary method in solving the most complex engineering problems.
Additive manufacturing will be very activeused when creating extraterrestrial colonies. There is no doubt about this. For example, China plans to use 3D printing technology not only inside the lunar station, but also outside it. 3D printing will allow you to create not only household items and essentials (cups, spoons, forks, plates, furniture, and so on), but also the parts needed to repair the station.
3D printing in space is not a task.simple ones. It will require the development of new technologies that will allow it to work in conditions of reduced gravity of the moon. The development of 3D printers capable of printing objects and objects in the vacuum of space is necessary.
Will require new materials
Experiments aboard the International SpaceThe stations proved that some terrestrial materials can change their properties in space. It is, for example, about optical fiber. In other words, materials that can be effective or, on the contrary, ineffective on the Earth, can become ineffective or very effective on the Moon.
Whatever the ultimate 3D printing materialEngineers have not chosen to use in the conditions of lunar gravity, it must be resistant to the environment in which it will be used. The development of such materials is a critical aspect. Understanding this, scientists, step by step, are trying to resolve this issue. For example, researchers from Germany are working on how to make 3D printing possible in space using metal particles. The NASA aerospace agency also demonstrated its 3D printing capabilities in space. By the way, Russia is not far behind in this matter either. Back in 2017, the company THETA presented a prototype of an electron-beam 3D-printer for metal, which, according to its developers, can be used on the Moon as well.
We have already seen how 3D printers can printwhole houses on Earth. Generally speaking, a similar approach, in combination with the use of ready-made parts, will most likely be used to create the lunar base. We have already seen examples of how such bases look like many times. For example, the same NASA agency for many years holds contests on the subject of 3D-printing technology of dwellings on other planets.
Life on the moon
We only raised technical issues related towith the creation of the lunar base. It is also important to address issues related to human life on the moon. It is necessary to know for sure whether a person will be able to stay in the space environment for a long time and how it will affect human physiology down to the cellular level. Unfortunately, our stock of knowledge in these matters is not enough. Many additional experiments and research are needed.
We have already found out that human organs, tissues andcells are very sensitive to gravity, but how these cells function and how they recover in space is still a mystery. What will happen to a person if he gets sick? Will earth medicine be effective in this case? If people want to start living on the moon, then all these fundamental questions need to be answered.
If we talk about later perspectives, then3D bioprinting technologies, as well as robotic surgery, will play an important role in supporting long-term lunar missions and colonization. Movement in these directions is already underway. For example, recently the Russian company 3D Bioprinting Solutions conducted successful tests of the world's first 3D bioprinter for working in microgravity conditions.
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