Currently, the US space agency has a program called Artemis to develop long-term settlements on the Moon. The program is aimed at using the local resources on the Moon and Mars as building materials. In addition, SpaceX is pursuing a similar goal by developing a lunar-modification of its Starship.
ICON will use local resources on the moon and Mars as building materials
Several years ago, NASA awarded ICON a small business innovation research (SBIR) contract to help them develop technologies that will enable humans to establish a sustained presence on the Moon. These technologies will enable them to build critical infrastructure on the Moon, which will protect astronauts from radiation and micrometeorite exposure. The company will use the funds to build a system called “Olympus,” which will be a three-dimensional printing technology that will allow humans to build structures on the moon and Mars.
ICON is already using its technology to build homes on Earth. In fact, it delivered the first permitted 3D printed house building service on the moon in the U.S. and Mexico last year. ICON has also designed a simulated Mars habitat. It will be used for NASA’s analog missions in 2023 and the CHAPEA program in 2023.
SpaceX is developing a lunar modification of the Starship
Developed by SpaceX, the Starship is a reusable, fully autonomous vehicle that can transport humans and cargo to the Moon or other celestial bodies. It also has docking capabilities, allowing passengers to return to Earth after visiting the Moon.
The Starship will be powered by SpaceX’s Super Heavy rocket booster, which is a fully reusable launch system. The rocket will be 394 feet tall.
The SpaceX Starship will be able to carry passengers to the Moon, Mars, and other destinations. It will have precision landing capabilities, a docking station, and a propellant depot on orbit. The Starship will have a cabin with an airlock for astronaut moonwalks.
SpaceX has built prototypes of the Starship and has performed five high-altitude test flights. It recently completed a 500-foot hop from Boca Chica, Texas.
NASA’s Artemis program for building long-term settlements
Currently, NASA’s Artemis program is a series of ongoing space missions. These missions are designed to explore the Moon, establish a lunar base, and lay the groundwork for human missions to Mars. The program will bring back humans to the Moon in the mid-2030s. This will be the first time that humans will live on the Moon for a long period of time.
The mission will be carried out by Orion, a partially reusable spacecraft. It is equipped with solar panels and a docking system. The vehicle is also capable of supporting six crew members. It is designed to launch on a Space Launch System rocket.
The first uncrewed test flight of the Artemis program launched on November 16 from the Kennedy Space Center. The mission will collect valuable flight test data.