Trying to build a house on the moon is an incredibly ambitious undertaking. There are a variety of reasons why this isn’t an idea that will ever happen. One of the main issues is the cost of building house on the moon. Solar energy is expensive, and a nuclear reactor would be too. Fortunately, there’s another option that could make building a house on the moon much easier.
Solar energy costs more than a nuclear reactor
Developing a nuclear reactor for space applications may sound like a strange idea. But the power of the atom can be harnessed to drive robotic exploration throughout the solar system. This technology would not only power spacecraft, but also create water and electricity for experiments and operations. It would even be used to power rovers.
In addition to providing continuous, reliable power, a nuclear reactor will reduce carbon emissions. A single plant could power an outpost on the moon for ten years. It could also help provide a cheap source of energy for an expedition to Mars.
The US has developed a small, compact nuclear reactor designed specifically for space use. This system recently completed a series of tests. The design is capable of providing 10 kilowatts of power for up to ten years. It is so small that it can be carried on a rocket.
While the design and safety of a nuclear reactor for space applications isn’t new, the process for developing such a machine has. NASA has partnered with the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop the nuclear fission power technology. The agency plans to release a request for proposals for this technology in early 2021.
3D printing could make construction easier
Using 3D printing technology, it could become easier to build houses on the moon. A company in Austin, Texas, has won a contract to develop new technologies for lunar construction.
ICON is an Austin-based startup that has been developing a new system for space-based construction since its inception. It has previously worked with NASA. Now, they have signed a $57.2 million contract with the agency. The contract will help ICON to develop and test additive-construction concepts for building infrastructure on the Moon.
The contract calls for ICON to continue previous collaborations with NASA. It also includes a demonstration on the Moon’s surface in 2026. The project is still relatively early, so more research is needed to understand thermal factors and the ability to control lunar dust.
The use of 3D printing for off-world construction is a promising development, especially in light of the rising global housing shortage. It can reduce launch weight and allow construction teams to create stronger structures on-site.
Challenges of building in space
Creating a space station or permanent colony on the Moon is not an easy task. A lack of a protective atmosphere means little protection against cosmic rays and radiation, and the absence of gravity makes Earth-based construction conventions obsolete.
For this reason, space stations must be fully pressurized, heated and monitored. Materials used in building such structures must be strong enough to resist the pressure differential between the outside and inside of a facility.
The walls of a moon facility must also be able to withstand the impact of micrometeoroids. These impacts are considered a major hazard.
New building materials can be adapted to deal with these effects. They can be stronger, more durable, and longer-lasting.
These materials can also be recycled, which can save money and resources. This could be a game changer for space exploration.
Some scientists have theorized that humans could build a permanent settlement on the Moon. However, it is likely that the first inhabitants of such a settlement would be few.