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The tech we need for Deep Space exploration

Lunar base

Lunar or Martian bases could be constructed in advance using 3D printing robots. Image credit: Foster+Partners

Future colonists of the Moon or Mars will have to live off the land; sending cargo and raw materials from Earth won't be cost-effective. Cue robot-operated 3D printing (or 'additive manufacturing', to give it its less media-friendly name), with Lunar or Martian bases constructed using regolith from the surface as the only 'ink'. Such a project was conceptualised recently by the European Space Agency and Foster+Partners architects.

It could also be mission-critical for the journey, too – having a machine shop in space to create spare parts may be a crucial capability for future deep space missions. Made In Space's microgravity 3D printer is on the ISS.

Jamie Carter

Jamie is a freelance tech, travel and space journalist based in the UK. He’s been writing regularly for Techradar since it was launched in 2008 and also writes regularly for Forbes, The Telegraph, the South China Morning Post, Sky & Telescope and the Sky At Night magazine as well as other Future titles T3, Digital Camera World, All About Space and Space.com. He also edits two of his own websites, TravGear.com and WhenIsTheNextEclipse.com that reflect his obsession with travel gear and solar eclipse travel. He is the author of A Stargazing Program For Beginners (Springer, 2015),