Olympus is a space-based construction system under development to support future exploration of the Moon.
Building humanity’s first home on another world will be the most ambitious construction project in human history and will push science, engineering, technology, and architecture to literal new heights. NASA’s investment in space-age technologies like Project Olympus can not only help to advance humanity’s future in space, but also to solve very real, vexing problems we face on Earth.
How Lunar Construction Works
In order to thrive on the lunar surface, we must learn to “live off the land” using local materials found on the Moon rather than bringing buildings materials all the way from Earth. Olympus’ printing technology processes local lunar regolith (moon dust) into a super strong building material using only energy and then 3D-prints structures with it.
Building a sustainable presence on the Moon requires more than rockets. For a permanent lunar presence to exist, robust structures will need to be built on the Moon that provide better thermal, radiation, and micrometeorite protection than metal or inflatable habitats can provide.
Entirely new types of architecture will be required that are purposefully designed for additive construction processes like Olympus. From landing pads to habitats, these collective efforts are driven by the need to make humanity a spacefaring civilization.
All civilizations become either spacefaring or extinct.
The technology being developed for the harsh lunar environment also
works on other planets – like Mars + Earth
The Lunar environment is open of the most demanding environments for technology development with its lack of atmosphere, high radiation, and extreme temperatures. By developing the Olympus technologies for such an extreme environment, translation to friendlier environments on planets and moons with atmospheres like Mars and Earth will be faster and more efficient.
From the Moon to Mars:
MEET MARS DUNE ALPHA
Mars Dune Alpha is a real 3D-printed structure for NASA located at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. ICON’s Vulcan construction system completed a 1,700 square-foot structure, designed by world-renowned architecture firm BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group, that will simulate a realistic Mars habitat to support long-duration, exploration-class space missions. Mars Dune Alpha takes Project Olympus technology for additive construction and begins to apply to another planetary body.