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3D-Printing a Future Moon Base (Gallery)

Lunar Base by Foster + Partners

ESA/Foster + Partners

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

ESA/Foster + Partners

The possible lunar base designed by Foster + Partners would have room enough for four moon residents at a time.

Lunar Base With Earthrise

ESA/Foster + Partners

An artist's illustration of what a base on the moon might look like. The European Space Agency is investigating the possibility of 3D printing lunar habitats.

Monolite D-Shape Printer for ESA's Lunar Base

ESA

ESA and partners used this 3D printer to print a piece of the potential lunar home.

1.5 Metric Ton Building Block

ESA

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

ESA

The European Space Agency and a consortium of industry professionals investigated the feasibility of using 3D printing to build a lunar base.

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Miriam Kramer
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+.