Well, here’s a use for 3D printing that we cannot say we saw coming.
Mikael Genberg is a Swedish artist famed for creating radical alternative living spaces, like the underwater hotel found in the Manta Resort on Pemba Island. Since 2003, he has been developing his most daring design yet: a self-constructing cottage that will build itself upon the lunar surface.
Though the project, titled Moonhouse, was shelved when the realities of the recession bit a few years back, thanks to the various digital innovations that have developed since then, it’s back on. To make it a reality, Genberg is utilising two thoroughly modern methods that, these days, go hand in hand: 3D printing and crowd-funding.
The architectural innovator is teaming up with Astrobotic, the NASA partnered, Pittsburgh-based company that aims to deliver ‘affordable space robotics technology and planetary missions’. The cottage will jet off for the moon as a shoebox-sized parcel, created using 3D printers, on the SpaceX Falcon 9 spacecraft. Upon arrival, it will build itself in less than 15 minutes. To make this happen, Genberg has outlined it with a specially developed space cloth that erects the carbon made material with pressurised gases.
The intergalactic abode will stand 9m², making it just about comfortable for a single inhabitant, with a red exterior typical of the modern Swedish cottage.
Currently, the cottage is 75% ready to go. To bring it to completion, Genberg has taken to the web, setting up one of the most ambitious crowd funding campaigns we’ve seen. With a target of $15 million (about 9 million quid), the Moonhouse project has thus far racked up pledges of $4,370, though there’s still 180 days left to run.
Backers can bag bonuses for their generosity, everything from a downloadable digital Moonhouse poster ($15) to a weightless zero gravity flight alongside the artist himself ($100,000).
Though some of the cash will go towards completing the cottage, the lion’s share (about £6 mill’) is what Astrobotic charges to blast you into orbit. Budget air travel hasn’t quite reached the aerospace market yet, it seems.
Want to get involved with Genberg’s outrageous interplanetary plan? Then check out the project page here.