Making an effort to extend space research, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), has started working on building igloo-like habitats on the lunar surface for potential future missions, according to a report by The Times of India.
The moon is a crucial and close destination for research and planetary exploration not just for ISRO but many of the world’s national and international space agencies (such as NASA, ESA, and others). Lunar missions are the first steps in expanding the manned and unmanned exploration of our solar system.
The moon can be used as a laboratory with lower gravity (1/6 of the earth’s gravity field) as it is the closest and most accessible planetary object from Earth.
With that in mind, the space research organisation has planned to build ‘lunar habitats,’ which will serve as an “outpost” by sending robots and 3D printers to the Moon. It will be built by using the soil there, as well as other materials.
M Annadurai, Director, ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC) told the TOI, “We are planning to use the Moon as an outpost—like missions in Antarctica. In the long run, the space station is likely to be scrapped. Many countries, including the US, are considering building more permanent structures on the Moon and working out of there. When that happens, we want India to have contributed.”
Did you know? ISRO is also planning to go to the moon. Read Here: ISRO is Going Back To The Moon, And It’s Cheaper than Interstellar
The project has seen progress with a working model—created using a 3D printer—in the lunar terrain test facility of the space agency. Scientists have drawn up five designs of the lunar habitats, in hopes of creating outposts on the Moon. Although there’s no mission plan yet, ISRO wants to have the technology ready for building these structures.
Annadurai also added that the space agency had mastered the process of creating lunar simulant (material that approximates the properties of lunar soil), and has about 60 tonnes of it. Its properties match 99.6% with the samples brought from Moon by Apollo missions.
With a lot of factors playing in the design from temperature to radiation and even meteorite collisions, ISRO plans to put forth the project in a steady manner which can contribute to space research.
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