A picture of the Moon surrounded by blackness

We Could Be Living on the Moon in 17 Years

NASA has been looking at other avenues for human life for a long time, especially since we realized we were all going to die sooner than first thought, thanks to climate change. Now, they think we could be constructing buildings on the Moon by 2040.

Recommended Videos

Originally reported by The New York Times, the U.S. space agency has said that they plan to send a 3D printer to the Moon and use the surface’s fine dust to manufacture concrete, even though the dust is highly toxic. Scientists think they can make it safe, as there are materials we sometimes use here on Earth that aren’t always the safest either unless properly utilized.

The Artemis mission is the aptly named “twin sister” of the Apollo missions, which took place between 1969 and 1972—the last time anyone walked on the Moon—and will see several expeditions before the 2040 building plans come to fruition. The first expedition took place last November when Artemis I traveled to and circled the Moon with only robots on board before returning to Earth. Artemis II is set to leave Earth in November 2024 with a four-human crew. Artemis III will be the first time that humans have set foot on the Moon in 50 years and is planned for 2025.

NASA’s director of technology maturation, Niki Werkheiser, said that this step feels “like it was inevitable” and that NASA being more open to collaborating with experts and academics gives this mission a real chance to get off of the ground (excuse the pun).

“We’re at a pivotal moment, and in some ways it feels like a dream sequence. In other ways, it feels like it was inevitable that we would get here. We’ve got all the right people together at the right time with a common goal, which is why I think we’ll get there. Everybody is so ready to take this step together, so if we get our capabilities developed, there’s no reason it’s not possible,” Werkheiser said.

However, there is some skepticism towards the whole thing. Jennifer Edmunson, lead geologist for the project at Marshall Space Flight Center, told The Times that there needs to be “proof of concept” and that if there’s any hope of the plan coming to fruition in the next 17 years, things need to start moving.

“The first thing that needs to happen is a proof of concept. Can we actually manipulate the soil on the lunar surface into a construction material? We need to start this development now if we’re going to realize habitats on the moon by the 2040 time frame.”

NASA has partnered with ICON—a Texas-based construction tech firm that designs and constructs new technologies to build modern, sustainable homes—to reach its lofty goal. As reported by the Mirror, “They hope to develop a space-based construction system that could be used to print everything from lunar houses to rocket landing pads.” Other firms working on the project include Bjarke Ingels Group and SEArch+ (Space Exploration Architecture).

(via The New York Times, featured image: Bruno Scramgnon on Pexels)

The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more about our Affiliate Policy
Image of Brooke Pollock
Brooke Pollock
Brooke Pollock is a UK-based entertainment journalist who talks incessantly about her thoughts on pop culture. She can often be found with her headphones on listening to an array of music, scrolling through social media, at the cinema with a large popcorn, or laying in bed as she binges the latest TV releases. She has almost a year of experience and her core beat is digital culture.