By Joshua Chou
The world is celebrating the historic landing of China Chang & # 39; e 4 on the large side of the Moon on 3 & # 39; January.
The colonization of the Moon, and beyond, has always been a human aspiration. technological advances, and discovery & # 39; considerable source & # 39; lunarji water near the poles, made it more attractive idea.
But its proximity to China to achieve this goal?
Focusing on currently available technology, China can & # 39; begin to build base on the Moon today.
The first lunar base
The first lunar base x & # 39; likely to be without crew led by automated robotics facility – similar to stores & # 39; Amazon – to ensure that the necessary infrastructure and the systems & # 39; support will be fully operational before arriving people.
The lunar environment is susceptible to conditions & # 39; vacuum deep, sharp fluctuations in temperature and solar radiation, among other conditions hostile to humans. More importantly, we have to fully understand the long-term impact on the human body is in space, and the Moon.
The seeds taken from the Moon mission Chang & # 39; e 4 now reported seedlings. This is the first time that plants grown on the Moon, and pave the way for the holding of & # 39; future food on the lunar base.
Building & # 39; moon base is different from the construction of the first rig in the ocean of oil. f & # 39; in this case, the soil samples logistics of construction moving parts, have become & # 39; feasibility studies should be considered and should be tested.
China has taken the first step by examining the soil of the lunar surface. This is necessary for building & # 39; habitat & # 39; Underground and support & # 39; infrastructure to protect the base from the harsh surface conditions.
3D printed everything
Among all the possible technologies for building & # 39; lunar base, 3D printing offers the most effective strategy. The 3D printing in the World revolutionized productivity and manufacturing efficiency, by reducing both waste and cost.
The vision of China is to develop the ability to print 3D both inside and outside the lunar base. The 3D printers have the potential to do everything from things & # 39; day, like drinking glasses, to repair parts to the base.
But the 3D printing space is a real challenge. It will require new technologies that can operate in the micro-gravity environment of the Moon. Should be developed 3D printing machines capable of forming parties in the space vacuum.
New materials are needed
We know that Earth materials, such as fiber optics, change the properties once they are in space. So materials are effective in the World, may not be effective on the Moon.
Whatever the intended use of 3D printed component, would be resistant to the conditions of & # 39; the moon environment. Therefore the development of & # 39; material & # 39; Printing is crucial. Step by step, researchers are finding and developing new materials and technologies to address this challenge.
For example, researchers in Germany expect the first tools of stainless steel "ready to use" 3D printed under micro-gravity in the near future. NASA also showed 3D printing technology in zero gravity and showed that it is feasible that the 3D printing space.
On a larger scale we saw that the houses be printed at 3D World. B & # 39; similarly, the basis of the lunar x & # 39; likely built using the & # 39; prefabricated parts together with & # 39; 3D printing scale.
Examples of & # 39; this can & # 39; looks can be seen in the entries in the challenge of & # 39; 3D printed habitat, launched by NASA in 2005. The competition seeks to manage & # 39; forward the construction technology & # 39; 3D printing solutions needed to create & # 39; sustainable housing to Earth, the Moon, Mars and beyond.
Living on the Moon
S & # 39; now, we we have focused on the technological feasibility of building a lunar base, but we also need to consider the long-term effect of lunar life on humans. To date, been limited studies to assess the biological impact on human physiology at the cellular level.
We know that human organs, tissues and cells are very responsive to gravity, but understanding how the human cell function and regenerate currently lacks.
S & # 39; happen if astronauts get sick? The drug Earth still work? If the astronauts to live on the Moon, these fundamental questions must be answered.
In the long & # 39; time, 3D bioprinting of & # 39; organs and tissues will play a crucial role in supporting & # 39; lunarji missions by enabling robotic surgeries. Recently Russia showed first 3D bioprinter working under micro-gravity.
Forever & # 39; forever
China can build a base of lime? Absolutely. Humans can live on the Moon and other planets for a long time? The answer to this is less clear.
What is certain is that China will use 10 to 15 next year to develop the necessary technical skills for carrying & # 39; Lunarji missions manned and set the stage for exploring & # 39; space.
This article has been updated. The original story referred to the "dark" side of the moon when it was supposed to say "distant".
Chou Joshua is a senior lecturer at the University of Technology Sydney
This article is republished The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.