researchers 3D-print lunar dust into screws and gears for use on the moon

researchers 3D-print lunar dust into screws and gears for use on the moon

regolith 3D printing: with the colonization of mars apparently imminent, it seems a few logistical issues need ironing out. one hurdle is shipping everything colonists need from earth – that’s how NASA handled lunar landings in the 60s and 70s. with improved technology this might not be necessary. researchers at the european space agency (ESA) have created fake moon dust (called ‘regolith’ in technical terms) and used it to 3D print small screws and gears.


according to a statement from the ESA, this material can be used as a kind of lunar ceramic.ground and sieved down to particle size, the regolith grains are mixed with a light-reacting binding agent, laid down layer-by-layer, then hardened by exposing them to light. the resulting printed part is then sintered in an oven to bake it solid.’


researchers 3D-print lunar dust into screws and gears for use on the moon regolith 3d-printing

3D-printing regolith to create small screws, bolts and other parts,

image courtesy of ESA



the potential application of 3D printing whilst on another planet, that uses local materials, is exciting. regolith-printing could remove the need for multiple trips back to earth, and help astronauts solve problems like broken equipment more efficiently – just ask mission control to send over a design and print.


the finely-detailed ceramic parts are the work of austrian company lithoz. this work was carried out as part of the URBAN project, supported through ESA’s discovery and preparation programme. ESA has awarded the study ‘conceiving a lunar base using 3D printing technologies’ to the URBAN consortium comprising of COMEX, LIQUIFER systems group and SONACA space GmbH under the lead of OHB system AG. the team evaluated the feasibility and implementation effort of using additive layer manufacturing in the construction, operations and maintenance of a lunar base.

  • it is to repair, but i think it is better to make lego bricks in order to prepare houses with a robot : 1 brick or 20000000 with moon powder and sun power

    toto says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

technology news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
493,010 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample