PAVING THE ROAD

Paving the road for large area sintering of regolith

June 2021 – December 2022
European Space Agency (ESA) project

A prerequisite for future human exploration of the Moon will be the manufacture of objects directly on the lunar surface, as transporting materials from Earth is extremely expensive. As for any form of manufacturing, the availability of three types of resources must be examined: Equipment, raw materials and energy sources. Equipment will certainly have to be brought from Earth at the outset. Raw materials and energy, on the other hand, may be available under the concept of in situ resource utilisation (ISRU). Lunar regolith is a fine powder that covers the lunar surface and is the simplest raw material suitable for building structures. Paving the Road plans to directly sinter the lunar regolith with a laser spot of up to 10 cm in size to produce good trafficable subsoil. This will create efficient transport routes that are less dusty than driving directly on the lunar sand.

ESA project as part of the Open Space Innovation Platform (OSIP) – Off-Earth Manufacturing Campaign

Consortium partners  

TU Clausthal – Germany / BAM Bundesanstalt für Materialprüfung – Germany / University of Aalen – Germany / LIQUIFER Systems Group – Austria

LIQUIFER team  Waltraut Hoheneder, Barbara Imhof, René Waclavicek, Monika Lipinska

 Image credit: courtesy of NASA