For the 2014 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, Foster + Partners produced a film of a proposed mission to 3D-print an entire a lunar base.
In 2012, the practice joined a consortium set up by the European Space Agency to explore the possibilities of 3D printing to construct lunar habitations. Addressing the challenges of transporting materials to the moon, the study has been investigating the use of lunar soil, known as regolith, as building matter. The base is designed to house four astronauts, and provides protection from meteorites, gamma radiation and high temperature fluctuations. The proposed location for the base is the rim of Shackleton Crater at the lunar South Pole, where there is a near-constant ‘peak of eternal light’, and therefore plentiful solar power.