In this artist's rendering, a 3D printing robot pours layer after layer of hardened lunar dirt and dust onto an inflatable dome shell, 3D printing a lunar base.
Lunar Base With Linked Domes
The possible lunar base designed by Foster + Partners would have room enough for four moon residents at a time.
Lunar Base With Earthrise
Artist's concept of a lunar base constructed with the aid of 3D printers.
Monolite D-Shape Printer for ESA's Lunar Base
ESA and partners used this 3D printer to print a piece of the potential lunar home.
1.5 Metric Ton Building Block
This 2,205 pound (1,000 kilograms)test-print is made from simulated lunar dirt and resembles a cross section of what the lunar home could look like.
Mosaic of the Lunar South Pole
The European Space Agency and a consortium of industry professionals investigated the feasibility of using 3D printing to build a lunar base.
Miriam Kramer, Space.com Staff Writer
Miriam Kramer joined Space.com as a staff writer in December 2012. Since then, she has floated in weightlessness on a zero-gravity flight, felt the pull of 4-Gs in a trainer aircraft and watched rockets soar into space from Florida and Virginia. She also serves as Space.com's lead space entertainment reporter, and enjoys all aspects of space news, astronomy and commercial spaceflight.
Miriam has also presented space stories during live interviews with Fox News and other TV and radio outlets. She originally hails from Knoxville, Tennessee where she and her family would take trips to dark spots on the outskirts of town to watch meteor showers every year. She loves to travel and one day hopes to see the northern lights in person. You can follow Miriam on Twitter and Google+.