The Chinese has disclosed that the country will try using 3D printing technology to create structures on the moon, according to the official China Daily.
This is as Beijing strengthens plans for long-term lunar habitation.
An unmanned probe returned China’s first lunar soil samples to Earth in the 2020 Chinese lunar mission, Chang’e 5, named after the ancient Chinese goddess of the moon.
China, which conducted its first lunar landing in 2013, intends to land a person on the moon by 2030.
China will launch the Chang’e 6, 7, and 8 missions between now and then, with the latter entrusted with searching for recoverable resources on the moon for long-term human habitation.
According to Wu Weiren, a scientist at the China National Space Administration, the Chang’e 8 probe will undertake on-site examinations of the environment and mineral composition, as well as examine if technologies such as 3D printing can be deployed on the lunar surface.
“If we wish to stay on the moon for a long time, we need to set up stations by using the moon’s own materials,” Wu explained.
According to a Chinese Academy of Engineering expert, a robot charged with creating “lunar soil bricks” will be launched during the Chang’e 8 mission around 2028.
The race to land on the moon has heated up in recent years, particularly in the United States.
This month, NASA and Canada’s space agency picked four astronauts for the Artemis II mission, which is scheduled for late 2024 and would be the first human moon fly-by in decades.