China is considering the use of 3D printing technology to construct buildings on the moon, according to China Daily. This move comes as Beijing strengthens its plans for long-term lunar habitation. China’s Chang’e 5 uncrewed probe brought back China’s first lunar soil samples to Earth during the 2020 lunar mission. China aims to land an astronaut on the moon by 2030. Between now and then, China will launch the Chang’e 6, 7, and 8 missions. The Chang’e 8 probe will perform on-site investigations of the environment and mineral composition and check whether technologies like 3D printing can be deployed on the moon’s surface. Wu Weiren, a scientist at the China National Space Administration, was quoted saying, “If we wish to stay on the moon for a long time, we need to set up stations by using the moon’s own materials.”
China’s Lunar Base Building Plans
Chinese media reports suggest that China wants to begin building a lunar base using moon soil in the next five years. A robot that will produce “lunar soil bricks” is expected to be launched during the Chang’e 8 mission around 2028. The bricks will be used to construct the lunar base. The race to set foot on the moon has intensified in recent years, particularly with the United States. NASA and Canada’s space agency have named four astronauts for the Artemis II mission planned for late 2024, which is intended to be the first human fly-by of the moon in decades.