ICONs 3D Printed Moonbase Vision Has NASA Funding

ICON has received funding from NASA and launched “PROJECT OLYMPUS” to reach for the stars with an off-world construction system for the Moon. World-renowned architecture firms BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group and SEArch+ have signed on as architectural partners for the audacious project. ICON recently raised a $35 million Series A round for its 3D-printed homes in Austin, Texas.

NASA is working with ICON on early research and development of a space-based construction system that could support future exploration of the Moon and Mars. The U.S. Air Force awarded ICON a dual-use Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract to expand 3D printing of livable and workable structures. Part of the contract, which NASA contributed funding to, will explore commonalities between Earth-based and off-Earth applications. ICON will also invest in the effort.

ICON will work with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama, under the Moon to Mars Planetary Autonomous Construction Technologies (MMPACT) project to test lunar soil simulant with various processing and printing technologies.

NASA could eventually give ICON more funding to develop in-situ testing on the lunar surface. In-situ work would involve using lunar regolith to make the cement and as source for more construction materials.

ICON has made many 3D printed homes in Texas. ICON has 3D printed communities of homes and structures on Earth and participated in NASA’s 3D Printed Habitat Challenge, demonstrating a construction method and technologies that may be adaptable for applications beyond our home planet.

The Vulcan is ICON’s 3D printer designed specifically to produce resilient single-story buildings faster, more affordably, and with more design freedom. It has a printing capability to approximately 2,000 square feet. It has an adjustable width (to accommodate different slab sizes) and is transported in our custom trailer with no assembly required.

The Vulcan features intuitive tablet-based controls, remote monitoring and support, onboard LED lighting for printing at night or during low-light conditions, and a custom software suite ensuring set-up, operations, and maintenance are as simple and straightforward as possible.

Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.cpm