Space experts convened in Washington DC for 2023’s “Humans to Mars Summit,” reports Vice, where one panel explored civil engineering and construction on the moon and Mars.

Melodie Yasher, who serves as vice president of building design and performance at ICON, previewed her company’s vision of lunar infrastructure based on 3D-printing and additive manufacturing technologies… “We’re looking into how to create, first, horizontal construction elements such as landing pads and roadways, and then eventually thinking about how we can develop vertical construction elements” such as “unpressurized structures and eventually, habitats that are pressurized and certified for human occupancy,” she added. ICON plans to use lunar dirt, known as regolith, as a resource to manufacture a wide range of infrastructure projects on the Moon with a single robotic 3D-printing system. In 2022, the company won a $57.2 million Small Business Innovation Research contract from NASA to develop its lunar construction techniques…

Later in the same panel, Sam Ximenes, founder and CEO of XArc Exploration Architecture Corporation, also offered a sneak peek of the lunar technologies in development at the XArc subsidiary Astroport. Ximenes and his colleagues at Astroport are focused on making Moon bricks out of lunar regolith that can be used to construct landing pads, as part of their “Lunatron” bricklayer vision… Astroport is working with researchers at the University of Texas, San Antonio, to invent an induction furnace nozzle that heats up lunar regolith so that it can melt, then solidify, into bricks. A number of specialized robots would then assemble the materials into landing pads that can accommodate robotic and crewed missions to the Moon’s surface. In addition to the company’s work on lunar technologies, it has also created concepts for future human missions to Mars.

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