Lately it seems that the space race has been revived. In recent years, we’ve seen major lunar projects from companies around the world, such as Agile Space Industries’ Griffin lunar lander, ICON, which is set to 3D print buildings on the Moon, and even China’s plans to print a base in 3D. on the moon. Recently, Australian 3D printer manufacturer Luyten also revealed its plans to conquer the final frontier. In association with the University of New South Wales, Sydney (UNSW), the company wants to build structures on the moon, as part of a project called Meeka.
To achieve its space ambitions, the company has developed a 3D printer called Platypus Galacticus. Designed to manufacture parts of regolith, an available material on the Moon, Platypus Galacticus would offer many benefits in this endeavor. Matthias Hank Haeusler, one of the managers of the Meeka project managers, explained: “This information can become part of the Computational Design script and the design will respond to specific material properties identified on the site. The knowledge we generate to build on the moon can be directly translated into housing for extreme climates like heat or to address housing issues in remote indigenous communities, both of which we research in parallel.”.
Characteristics of the Platypus Galacticus 3D Printer
Engineered from composite materials, the Platypus Galacticus is a compact 3D printer and is based on a proprietary extrusion technology called Luyten turisops. According to the company, the machine will be able to print structures up to 12 meters long and 9 meters high (~39 feet long and 30 feet high). To identify buildable areas and collect materials on the Moon, Luyten plans to have the rovers accompany Platypus Galacticus. Therefore, some will attempt to penetrate the ground to assess areas, while others will harvest regolith.
Although the realization of such a project may still seem a long way off, one thing is for sure: innovations happen in this sector and AM is certainly starting to make its mark. For example, to manufacture propellants, NASA opted for 3D printing and relied on the services of Agile Space Industries, showing the capabilities of AM in the sector at the beginning of the year. Since then, more and more companies are getting involved in 3D printing in space in different ways, including 3D printing rockets, testing the capabilities of 3D printing in zero gravity, and more. And projects like Meeka are more and more numerous today. Indeed, it would not be surprising to see additive manufacturing play a major role in future Moon exploration. You can learn more about the Meek project HERE.
What do you think of the Meeka de Luyten project? Let us know in a comment below or on our Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter pages! Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly newsletter here, bringing the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox! You can also find all our videos on our YouTube channel.
Cover Photo Credit: Luyten