LEGO Bricks Are Helping Scientists Build Astronaut Shelters On The Moon

This would be the first attempt to build structure on the Moon.

Space Bricks made from 4.5-billion-year-old meteorite dust by the European Space Agency.
Space Bricks made from 4.5-billion-year-old meteorite dust by the European Space Agency.

Scientists at the European Space Agency (ESA) have turned to LEGO brick building when designing launch pads and shelters for astronauts visiting the moon, as part of the Artemis program. To test whether space materials could be used to create structures, the team 3D printed similar to LEGO bricks with meteorite dust to see if could still be used as a building block on small scale versions of structures.

The real structures will be built on the moon, using materials found there, but they first needed to understand if a space material could even be made into building blocks and they needed to do this on a small scale. The space material on the moon is regolith, but there is only a very small sample available on Earth, collected from the Apollo mission. So, the team turned to another, very similar space material – meteorites, which they ground up into dust and mixed with a small amount of polylactide and regolith simulant and used this to 3D print bricks similar to LEGO bricks– making the ESA Space Bricks. The meteorite they used is approximately 4.5 billion years old and was original discovered in North-West Africa in 2000 and is technically classed as a L3-6. It is a brecciated stone which has many different elements incorporated within it, such as large metal grains, inclusions, chondrules and other stone meteorite elements.

Following the important part in developing potential future infrastructure on the Moon, 15 ESA Space Bricks will go on display in select LEGO Stores globally to help encourage kids to find out more about space travel and be inspired to build their very own moon shelters.

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