NASA wants to build a civilization out of moon dust

These scientists know how to turn moon dirt into furniture.

Sure, humanity has had a few flings with the moon. We’ve touched her surface and even stayed the night once or twice, but we’ve never committed. We’ve never moved in.

That could be about to change. NASA is figuring out how to get people to the moon and actually keep them there. Jim Bridenstine, a NASA administrator, says he’s doesn’t just want to leave “flags and footprints,” next time we go to the moon. “This time when we go, we’re going to go to stay,” he told NASA advisers.

That means establishing homes and bringing enough food, furniture and other necessities to the moon. But it’s difficult and expensive to ship a bunch of equipment through space. So here’s a fun new idea: instead of shipping all the everything, astronauts can bring 3D printers, mining facilities and excavation robots. Then, they can harvest the moon’s dust, load it into the printers and make whatever they want.

Does this sound like a stretch to you? It did to me. But apparently NASA engineers have actually already figured out how to turn moon dust into 3D printing feedstock.

Not that we’re only interested in chairs and hammers. Humans also have a soft spot for water, being mostly made of it and all. Luckily, there’s frozen water in craters on the moon. NASA made sure it was there via the very scientific method of slamming a spacecraft into a crater.

Gotta love science.