As part NASA’s Artemis programme, astronauts should land on the moon again by 2024, in order to explore more of its surface than ever before. Furthermore, whatever is learned from their time on and around the moon should be used to prepare for the next step to send astronauts to Mars. Since more than rockets are needed for a permanent presence on the moon, structures must be developed that offer better thermal, radiation and micrometeorite protection than metal or inflatable dwellings can provide.
ICON, known for its 3D printing technology for home construction, has been awarded a contract by the US government as part of Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) so that they can begin research and development of a space-based construction system. Together with NASA, elements for an additive construction system which will make it possible to print construction elements on the moon are to be developed. As partners for Project Olympus, ICON has won the Danish BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group and SEArch+ (Space Exploration Architecture), a company recognised worldwide for its innovative designs for space exploration.
The construction of humankind’s first house on another world will be the most ambitious construction project in human history and will literally take science, technology and architecture to new heights”, says Jason Ballard, co-founder and CEO of ICON. “To explain the power of architecture, take the Danish word for design, “formgiving” – literally meaning giving form to what has not yet been designed. This notion becomes fundamentally clear when we venture beyond the earth and imagine how we will build and live in completely new worlds. The solutions to our challenges on earth could very well be found on the moon”, says Bjarke Ingels, founder and creative director of the BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group.