On April 8, the first Extraterrestrial Construction Conference was held at Huazhong University of Science and Technology, with more than 100 experts and scholars from domestic universities, research institutes, and space contractors gathering to explore how to build “houses" on the moon.
HUST professor Ding Lieyun, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and chief scientist of the National Center of Technology Innovation Digital Construction, gave a speech at the conference on the status of domestic and international research on lunar base construction, and the latest progress his team has made in this field.
Having dived deep in lunar base construction in 2015, Professor Ding and his team have since carried out numerous cutting-edge studies to formulate a feasible plan for the construction.
Considering the challenges of the one-time construction, Ding’s team had proposed the idea of integrating traditional Chinese construction techniques with 3D printing—to make moon soil-based bricks with mortise-and-tenon joints and then put the bricks together to make the lunar base just like building a Lego house, which is less risky and costly. Up to now, the printing of simulated lunar soil samples has been finished, marking the first of its kind in China.
“YueHuZun” lunar base sample designed by Ding’s team
What’s interesting about this is that the lunar base and robots involved in the building process have all got adorable names. The egg-shaped lunar base sample is called YueHuZun (Lunar Pot Vessel), the robot that will be used to build the base is named Chinese Super Mason, and the 3D printing robot Moon Spider.
A member of the HUST research team is showing China’s first sample of simulated moon soil bricks
“We wish to contribute more Chinese vision and input to the peaceful use of space and extraterrestrial construction,” said Professor Ding.
Zhou Jianping, chief architect of China's manned space program, and Yu Dengyun, designer-in-chief of the fourth phase of China's lunar exploration project, also shared thoughts on China’s manned deep space exploration and the future construction on lunar surface.
"Eventually, building habitation beyond the earth is essential not only for all humanity’s quest for space exploration, but also for China’s strategic needs as a space power," Ding said during the conference.
Source: School of Civil and Hydraulic Engineering and Chang Jiang Daily Newspape
Written by: Chen Shuangshuang
Edited by: Ye Jingyi, Chang Wen, Peng Yumeng