The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is collaborating with Austin, TX-based construction technologies company ICON to research and develop a space-based construction system to support future exploration of the Moon and Mars.
ICON was awarded a dual-use Small Business Innovation Research contract by the U.S. Air Force, with funding from NASA, to expand three-dimensional (3D) printing of livable and workable structures, building on ICON demonstrations that were part of NASA's 3D Printed Habitat Challenge.
The contract calls for exploring the commonalities between Earth-based and off-Earth applications.
In conjunction with NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, ICON will test simulated lunar soil using various processing and printing technologies as part of the Moon to Mars Planetary Autonomous Construction Technologies project.
Said Marshall's Corky Clinton, "We want to increase the technology readiness level and test systems to prove it would be feasible to develop a large-scale 3D printer that could build infrastructure on the Moon or Mars."
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