3D printing Lunar labs to make mars mission possible?

  • Nimish Sany
  • 28 June , 2016

3D printing Moon villages in the pipeline? Scroll on to find out!

Well take it from the European Space Agency, even a manned mission to Mars might not be possible within the next 15 years. NASA too doesn’t see astronauts packing their bags to Mars until 2030. Now, as to why, there are a few decisive factors that could make or break a manned mission to mars.

Mostly, it is the 33,900,000 miles that exist between Earth and Mars and a taxing journey that takes 2 years to reach the red neighbor. The spaceship needs to be equipped with more than 4 years worth of tangibles and facilities which could present a challenge as of now. Deep space radiations could also get the astronauts in trouble and the spaceship needs to be their protector.

3d printing on moon in artist's imagination, courtesy: esa

Image: ESA

Another factor that keeps delaying our dreams of landing on Mars is the lack of en-route colonies or pit stops, so to speak. While the International Space Station is still there, it has an orbit height of only 400km and doesn’t even qualify for a pit stop. Moon, however is a different matter. At 238,855 miles, it could act as a base station for not just the mission to Mars, but all our future manned missions.

Jan Woerner, Director General, ESA says how lunar labs equipped with 3D printing can aid the Mars mission immensely:

  “The moon village is a pit stop on the way to Mars…there are various companies and public agencies asking to join the club now, so they want to do different things, resource mining, in situ research, tourism and that kind of stuff. There is a big community interested.”


Woerner sees lunar labs as a base station for all our future deep space missions. If and when a time comes to establish colonies in moon or other planets, it would be much more logical and economical to 3D print the necessary tools and appliances right on the moon rather than spaceships having to carry them all the way from earth. However, Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, better known as SpaceX with Elon Musk has its helmsman, plans to do unmanned missions to Mars by 2018 by making use of their reusable space shuttles. To this Woerner responded,

“If there was enough money then we could possibly do it earlier but there is not as much now as the Apollo program had. We should not copy. To follow and copy does not bring you into the lead. We are looking for totally different approaches.”

With 3D printing lunar labs, no planet is too far. Let’s wait and watch!


Nimish Sany: I bleed my thoughts on paper. And if I cant find a paper, blogs serve the purpose just fine.

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