July 15, 2024
1 Solar System Way, Planet Earth, USA
Astronomy

Legos made from moon dust could one day solve a lunar problem

Interlocking bricks made of regolith could be a way to build essential structures on the Moon.

Scientists at the European Space Agency (ESA) have collaborated with Lego to 3D print bricks made from space dust. The material (and the way Lego bricks fit together) could one day help solve the problem of how to build things on the Moon, such as shelters for astronauts.

“No one has ever built a structure on the Moon, so we have to figure out not only how we build them, but also what we build them from,” he said. Aiden Cowley, ESA's Chief Scientist“We can’t take any materials with us.”

Related: Legos in the space store | Using lunar soil to build on the Moon

How to turn space dust into dustThe Legos

Credit: ESA

The only pristine lunar material we have on Earth is the 382 kilograms of rocks and regolith collected by Apollo astronauts, plus a few handfuls of material from robotic sample-return missions. So the teams used material from a 4.5-billion-year-old meteorite, NWA 869, found in northwest Africa in 2000. It contains metal grains, chondrules, and other elements. They ground it into a powder and mixed it with simulated regolith. The team then used the material to create 3-D printed Lego blocks — a small-scale proof of concept that interlocking blocks could be produced on the Moon from regolith and used to build lunar bases.

According Lego, The meteorite bricks fit together like traditional blocks and can be found on display at selected Lego stores around the world from now until September.

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