ICON wants to print a lunar colony
The Future. NASA has set construction startup ICON — the company behind “House Zero” 3D printed homes — to figure out how to 3D print buildings on the Moon to eventually construct the first lunar colony. Development is already underway. If ICON can successfully pass NASA’s test, building a neighborhood on the Moon may be as easy as doing so here on Earth… and launch a new wave of lunar-based investment.
Bringing building materials to the Moon is exceedingly difficult. But what if you could just print them?
- Fast Company reports that ICON was awarded a $57.2 million Phase III SBIR grant from NASA to print 3D structures on the Moon as part of the Artemis mission.
- The contract calls for ICON to fly its tech to the Moon and demonstrate printing a building on the lunar surface in 2026.
- Although ICON typically uses water to make its printing material, it can’t do so because water sublimates on the Moon.
- Instead, the company will use regolith (the rocks and dust on the lunar surface) as printing material — making the endear extremely sustainable.
Ultimately, the structure will need to meet NASA’s building-strength requirements in order to be deemed safe… and probably reward ICON with more money.
The company has already been testing builds with “simulated regolith” in a vacuum environment here on Earth.