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China Explores Moon to 3D Print Habitats | Space News

China hopes to start building a lunar base using lunar soil within five years.

China will explore the use of 3D printing to build structures on the moon as Beijing solidifies plans for long-term lunar habitation.

During China’s 2020 lunar mission — Chang’e 5, named after the moon goddess in Chinese mythology — an unmanned probe brought back China’s first samples of lunar soil.

China first landed on the moon in 2013 and plans to send astronauts there by 2030.

Between now and then, China will launch the Chang’e 6, 7 and 8 missions, the latter of which will search for reusable resources on the moon for long-term human habitation.

Chang’e-8 will conduct on-site surveys of the environment and mineral composition, and determine whether technologies such as 3D printing can be deployed on the lunar surface, Wu Weiren, a scientist at China’s National Academy of Sciences, was quoted by China Daily on Monday as saying by the Space Administration.

“If we want to stay on the moon for a long time, we need to use materials from the moon itself to build the site,” Wu said in a recent interview.

“Lunar soil will be our raw material and will be printed into building units,” he added.

China hopes to begin building a lunar base using lunar soil within five years, Chinese media reported earlier this month.

According to experts from the Chinese Academy of Engineering, during the Chang’e-8 mission, a robot that will be launched around 2028 is to manufacture “lunar clay bricks”.

The race to set foot on the moon has intensified in recent years, especially in the United States.

This month, NASA and the Canadian Space Agency named four astronauts to the Artemis 2 mission, scheduled for late 2024, which will be the first human flyby of the moon in decades.

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