back to article India: Yeah, we would like to 3D-print igloos on the Moon

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to build igloos on the Moon with a view to creating an Antarctica-like outpost. Dr Jitendra Singh of the Department of Atomic Energy and Department of Space gave the response to a question (PDF) asked in the Indian Parliament by Shri Suman Balka last week, a member of …

  1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

    Serious question, can rubbish be 'thrown' upwards? Ie: stick it in a cannon.

    As gravity is so low on the moon, is that feasible or have I been watching too many cartoons?

    1. ArrZarr Silver badge
      Boffin

      Escape velocity on the moon: ~2.4km/s

      Muzzle velocity of current cannon/ordinance: ~1.2km/s - ~1.7km/s

      Current ordinance isn't up to the task (and is hella expensive). A dedicated system may be able to surpass escape velocity, but will still be hella expensive, especially considering the amount of waste that gets generated.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        but what if you are using ACME explosives?

      2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

        Thanks. I'm surprised the escape velocity is that high.

        In my minds eye, if you jump too far you'll float off :)

        1. ArrZarr Silver badge

          @DofTW

          Remembered this XKCD from a while back - https://xkcd.com/681/

      3. Tigra 07 Silver badge
        Coat

        RE: ArrZarr

        You won't neeed to throw it upwards. When done with your rubbish just throw it over the edge of the moon and it will disintegrate in Earth's atmosphere. Just don't drop any rocks.

        As one thicko Murican politician seems to think - people throwing rocks off the moon towards Earth is a serious risk.

        1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

          Re: RE: ArrZarr

          It depends on how big those rocks are...

          The moon is a harsh mistress.

          -Mike

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: RE: ArrZarr

            Wikipedia tells me that the US test fired a rail gun with a muzzle velocity of 2.5 km/s in 2008. When I was a little boy, a picture book suggested that a linear accelerator would be used to get Lunar material into orbit. IIRC, the same concept is present in Duncan Jones' film Moon.

            1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

              Re: RE: ArrZarr

              'Moon is a Harsh Mistress' again, if I remember rightly. Didn't they find a suitably angled range of hills to run it up? No vacuum, so good idea. Just needs a lot of resources that need to be sourced locally.

            2. ArrZarr Silver badge
              Boffin

              Re: RE: ArrZarr

              While I don't deny either of those things, I would like to point out that I said current ordinance - Railguns are still only found as prototypes (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong).

              They also have an issue that the military are trying to accelerate hunks of magnetic metal in a magnetic field while the LUnar GarbagE Railgun (LUGER) would predominantly be accelerating plastics of some description.

              That last paragraph was mainly to justify coming up with a referential acronym for the system. I still think that the prohibiting factor in this would be cost - 1/2mv^2 is a harsh mistress.

              1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

                Re: RE: ArrZarr

                If you're capable of building a sustainable base on the moon, then cost isn't going to be an issue because you've already solved your energy problem.

                As to the rail gun... you can use anything within the payload. Google Sabot round. At issue is aiming the payload and the payload being a smart payload which can change trajectory because the rail gun can't.

                1. ArrZarr Silver badge
                  Happy

                  Re: RE: ArrZarr

                  I'm aware of sabots, but, possibly going a bit too far down the rabbithole mentally, I was thinking that if you're throwing rubbish away, it would probably be best if you were to not have to manufacture casings for the rubbish you're hurling into the void.

                  Then my mind started working on a way you could design the system so that you loaded the rubbish into a container with no top that will stop by some means (probably including springs and/or shenanigans involving reversing the polarity)

                  As has been pointed out above though, the whole premise is utterly stupid on chips unless you're trying to make the events of Wall-E happen.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: RE: ArrZarr

                You're wrong, China for the win this time.......

                https://www.popsci.com/china-navy-railgun-warship

              3. Alan Brown Silver badge

                Re: RE: ArrZarr

                "Railguns are still only found as prototypes "

                Railguns have a tendency to self destruct (magnetic flux forcing the rails apart), but their top speed is only limited by atmospheric friction. That "blowing themselves apart" problem has been around since the Nazis started playing with them in the 1930s and the USA hasn't solved the problem yet (although China may have done. They're not publicly claiming it yet, but it looks like they've actually put a railgun on a ship, which nobody else has ever done.)

                Linear accelerators don't go quite so fast but they don't tend to fly apart. They can go more than fast enough to reach lunar escape velocity.

                None of this matters for the subject at hand. Biological waste is valuable enough that you'd want to retain and recycle it on a lunar colony, not dump it. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and There Aint No Such Thing as a Free Lunch.

              4. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

                Re: RE: ArrZarr

                Current ordinance refers to regulations - I can't see them firing items anywhere.

                However, current ordnance, in the sense of guns, probably (I bow to your superior knowledge) won't produce the speeds required. But that's just a design feature - I'm sure they could fire things faster with a new design if they wished...

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: RE: ArrZarr

              "Wikipedia tells me that the US test fired a rail gun with a muzzle velocity of 2.5 km/s in 2008."

              I can't remember the exact date, but the UK launched a 90mm projectile from a rail gun with a muzzle velocity of ~2.5km/s some time in the early 2000's.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Complete un-physics person here, but:

        "Muzzle velocity of current cannon/ordinance: ~1.2km/s - ~1.7km/s"

        On Earth? In Earth's atmosphere? It would be faster on the Moon surely as no atmosphere to get in the way?

      5. Faux Science Slayer

        "Perplexing Apollo Questions for NASA" at FauxScienceSlayer

        Film and photos are obvious fakes....explain the lunar lander logistics anomalies !

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Escape velocity on the moon: ~2.4km/s"

        With a large solar array, plus a big pile of supercapacitors and switching gear, that's possible. For the record, ~2.5km/s used to be acheivable using the UK's prototype 90mm bore railgun, but we sold it to the USA for use on their test/development program.

    2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Rubbish disposal?

      Throwing rubbish away, unless it is on a trajectory to the sun, is always a bad idea.

      Once people burned rubbish, or buried it in the garden (I still find the odd old bottle). They dumped it in the sea ('the sea is big enough to swallow everything'), they dumped it in rivers, they dumped it in holes in the ground. Round the corner from me they dumped it down an old mine shaft, which they later capped. Then the old car wedged in the shaft rusted, the pile collapsed and a nice new hole appeared where the kids play.

      In every case it comes back and bites someone in the bum.

      Reduce, reuse, recycle. Rubbish can't be forgotten about.

      1. RJG

        Re: Rubbish disposal?

        On the moon, throwing rubbish away miss just stupid. It is the best source of raw materials within quarter of a million miles. Any materials from the moon are very poor quality in comparison.

      2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Alert

        Re: Rubbish disposal?

        Some of the public lavatories in Alberta's park areas appear to be merely thrones where one defecates into a cavernous area underneath, no septic tank as far as I could tell (Not that I have looked too closely nor indeed wanted to), not a place to lose your phone (No I didn't).

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Rubbish disposal?

          "thrones where one defecates into a cavernous area underneath"

          aka "Long drop" or pit latrine - like what your great-great-great-grandfather/mother used to use. (and some of us who are much younger remember from our childhoods along with telephones that had crank handles)

          In general you toss lime into them regularly and periodically dig a new hole. A sense of smell is definitely a handicap.

          1. MyffyW Silver badge

            Re: Rubbish disposal?

            Harsh Mistress? Throne where one defecates? There's some very worrying imagery in my mind this morning ....

      3. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

        Re: Rubbish disposal?

        On the contrary. Rubbish is a time capsule for future archeologists...

    3. realscience

      A linear mass driver can do the job. Lunar mining plans from the 1970's had these as an option to shoot raw material off of the lunar surface.

    4. DougS Silver badge

      Trash disposal

      Is this really something we should worry about? Since there is no atmosphere and no running water on the Moon, trash will remain exactly where you put it forever. Just bury it - some of it might be useful again in the future so even if shooting it into the Sun was remotely practical I think it would be a bad idea.

      Even if there was a substantial lunar colony the amount of trash generated is likely to be small by Earth standards, since the value proposition of recycling will be so much better versus bringing stuff from Earth or making it locally.

      Something particularly hazardous like radioactive waste or toxic chemicals you might want to bury a little deeper and further from inhabited areas, just to protect against the unlikely possibility of a meteor landing on top of it and sending it flying...

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Trash disposal

        "Something particularly hazardous like radioactive waste or toxic chemicals you might want to bury a little deeper and further from inhabited areas, just to protect against the unlikely possibility of a meteor landing on top of it and sending it flying..."

        Or in case it reaches a critical mass and explodes with such force that it splits the moon in half, send the survivors on a magical interstellar tour such that they reach a new star system every week and manage to spend a few days at each.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    igloo

    Will they put spherical cows on the moon as well?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: igloo

      Don't forget the square pigs!

      http://www.joblo.com/movie-news/awfully-good-space-truckers-339-02

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: igloo

        Thanks Dave 126, I had completely removed that film from my mind.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: igloo

      there are better materials than ICE, and could be made from moon dust which is basically 'regolith', not unlike concrete in many ways.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunarcrete

      additionally, there have been several proposal with respect to ice as a construction material, one which was proposed back in WW2...

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pykrete

      this example uses wood pulp plus ice, but there are other potential materials as well, that would help prevent the ice from subliming away in the vacuum on the moon.

      Another good alternative would be GLASS. Yes, GLASS. And the lunar surface contains a lot of Titanium, which would be really good for support.

      So now you get building materials that are local to the moon, and require very little (if any) water to make:

      a) sulfur-based or other 'dry' concrete

      b) titanium mined on the moon

      c) glass made from silicates on the moon

      d) solar and nuclear energy to power it all (2 weeks of night every month, so you'd need something to power stuff when it's dark, and nuclear makes the most sense).

      Anyway, an igloo is kind of odd and impractical. But using LUNAR MATERIALS is definitely the way to go.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: igloo

        "there are better materials than ICE"

        Not for absorbing radiation. The others work but not nearly as well.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: igloo

        "Anyway, an igloo is kind of odd and impractical. But using LUNAR MATERIALS is definitely the way to go."

        The whole 3D printing thing sounds like grandstanding anyway. At least initially, the obvious thing is something akin to a Bigilow expanding habitat.

  3. wolfetone Silver badge

    I think it's nice that a country like India can put this much effort in to building habitations on the moon when half of their population live in shanty towns.

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Priorities?

      I see where you are coming from, and tend to agree. But the basic technology developed for 3D printing igloos from regolith could perhaps be adapted for printing cheap igloos/huts out of Indian soil? That might help relieve the problem in rural areas, but not in city slums.

      And in a (generally) warm and dry climate (okay, yes, monsoon...) a 'shanty' may actually be borderline acceptable as somewhere to live. If it came to priorities, a decent shanty with clean water, sanitation and some electricity may be preferable to a nice shiny igloo with none of them.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      See what l did here....

      I think it's nice that a country like USAcan put this much effort in to building habitations on the moon when they don't have a free universal health care system.

      See what l did here?

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: See what l did here....

        ....and a country like the UK can spaff money on things like Trident and brexit when they don't have affordable housing for most of the population, feed school children, etc. etc.

        At least this sort of thing generally has useful spin-offs. I've yet to see anything useful come out of nuclear weapons and xenophobia.

        1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Re: I've yet to see anything useful come out of nuclear weapons and xenophobia.

          Well there is at least one useful thing that came from nuclear weapons : an understanding of meteorite impacts.

          It was the study of the first nuclear crater that revealed many common points with what are now called impact craters.

          So that's one good thing in a literal sea of horrific consequences. Was it worth it ? I don't know.

          I do, however, know that xenophobia has never done any good anywhere at any time.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I've yet to see anything useful come out of nuclear weapons and xenophobia.

            Native Americans (i.e., American Indians) would have fared much better with a huge helping of xenophobia. They couldn't have fared worse. Welcoming hordes who want to destroy your culture is not a good survival tactic.

            1. Claptrap314 Bronze badge

              Re: I've yet to see anything useful come out of nuclear weapons and xenophobia.

              My ancestors of the first part had no effective means to resist my ancestors of the second part. An unfriendly welcome would have delayed things by a decade or two--except that instead of almost a century of more-or-less friendly relations, things would have been decidedly unfriendly. Europe was in the middle of conquering the world due to technological advances and population pressures. The tech deficient here was far too great for the locals to have any chance of repelling the migration.

        2. bombastic bob Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: See what l did here....

          "....and a country like the UK can spaff money on things like Trident and brexit when they don't have affordable housing for most of the population, feed school children, etc. et"

          you know, MOST of that could be fixed with pure capitalism. You have to assume that the reason people have no housing is that it's not being built fast enough, the reason they have no food is because it's not being produced in farms fast enough, and the reason people lack money is because they don't have jobs.

          So what's the solution? pay out tax dollars to people who claim they don't have enough money to get housing/food/etc.? I think NOT (think of where it has to come from, and how UNsustainable THAT would be). Instead, you ENcourage private enterprise to do what it's good at, create jobs, produce stuff people want, and tell GUMMINT to just STAY OUT OF THE WAY as much as possible. [yeah here come the exploitation arguments, yotta yotta - *yawn*]

          Just stating "the obvious" ya know?

          So, where are all of those "straw man" xenophobics anyway? Maybe there's a handfull of wackos, but that's it, right? Do YOU know any xenophobics? I mean REAL xenophobics, not "accused of it" because "political correctness" or something, the way the P.C. fascists throw around 'word of the day'-phobia accusations right/left/up/down/wherever all the time. And if you do not know anyone that's a xenophobic [likely], then ARE there any in significant numbers? And that's my point. People just want to live their lives in private and not be disturbed or coerced by anyone/thing, because THAT is human nature. I think most people are really like that. And I know a LOT of people 'like that'.

          And nuke weapons helped prevented the world from falling to fascism and communism. I think _that_ is pretty useful, don't you?

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: See what l did here....

            "and tell GUMMINT to just STAY OUT OF THE WAY as much as possible. [yeah here come the exploitation arguments, yotta yotta - *yawn*]

            I think all the recent exposés of the likes of Cambridge Analytics, Facebook, Google and their ilk shows what capitalism gets up to when the law is failing to keep up and regulation is light.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: See what l did here....

        I think it's nice to live in a country where a free press can actually legally write negative pieces about the expensive and dangerous ventures assumed by a less-than-competent government, like free wealth transfer-funded universal healthcare.

        Save your pence. When you require a timely life-saving operation, you'll be getting on a plane and paying for it yourself.

    3. David Neil

      Toilet witches?

      Will the Igloo also suffer from the above noted blocker to uptake of basic sanitation?

    4. detritus

      Given that ISRO seems keen to attract foreign launch customers and there's apparently a continual effort to drive down development costs I think making a meal of India's economic disparities is a bit disingenuous, no?

      Or should Indian industry be limited to diesel tractors and mud brick factories?

  4. MatsSvensson

    But would our eskimos be able to afford buying imported igloos all the way from the moon?

    Is what id like to know!

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Being Whalers on the Moon, they will have bone, meat and sperm oil to trade for their rent!

      https://theinfosphere.org/Whalers_on_the_Moon

  5. Firvulag

    Nice of you to acknowledge the source picture - not.

    Moonbase Alpha from Space 1999 episode one - breakaway. A Gerry Anderson production.

    Fixed it for you.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Nice of you to acknowledge the source picture - not.

      Moonbase Alpha from Space 1999 episode one - breakaway. A Gerry Anderson production.

      Gerry Andersons ex-wife got all rights to Space 1999 in the divorce. He didn't like to be reminded of that show.

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Mushroom

        I don't like to be reminded of the second season too much.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Coffee/keyboard

          "I don't like to be reminded of the second season too much."

          There was no second season!

          1. ravenviz
            Happy

            RE: no second season

            I know what you are getting at but if that's all the Space:1999 there is then I'm happy. I do wear Space:1999 T-shirts (courtesy redbubble), cool as f*ck (in my mind) ;)

        2. MrRimmerSIR!

          It was a stinker

          I had very fond memories of watching Space 1999 as a kid so took it upon myself to acquire the complete set. They say never meet your heroes. I'd add to that, leave nostalgia where it belongs - in the past.

          I haven't summoned up the courage to watch UFO yet. Could it be worse?

          1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

            Re: It was a stinker

            "I haven't summoned up the courage to watch UFO yet. Could it be worse?"

            Let me put it this way - the crew of the UFO moonbase makes up for a lot.

            1. Alister Silver badge

              Re: It was a stinker

              the crew of the UFO moonbase makes up for a lot.

              Mmmm... Gabrielle Drake...

    2. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Nice of you

      to suggest that people here wouldn't instantly recognise that picture.

  6. JakeMS

    Where do I..

    Pre-order one of these? I'd move to the moon just to get away from Humans and their toxic nature that destorys their planet! :-D.

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: Where do I..

      Ah, the Moon, clear skies and enough clean fresh air to last a (very short) lifetime.

  7. Neil 32

    Pun alert!

    Breathes new life into the old joke about how Eskimos build their houses!

    *grabs his coat - the one with the tube of UHU in it*

  8. Dave 126 Silver badge

    What to use as a binder?

    On Earth we would use cement, mud or adobe. I guess one could sinter (fuse) the powder material by aiming an array of mirrors at one spot (then spread more powder on top and repeat - effectively the same process as Selective Laser Sintering of titanium powder on earth).

    The mirror array can be relatively lightweight, seeing as how it doesn't have to withstand any wind, and not too much gravity. However, it will require a mechanism to shed off lunar dust that settles on the mirrors - perhaps a rapid vibration such as is employed on DSLR sensors.

    How does this 3D house printing compare with an inflatable structure which can be used as a former for polyurethane foam?

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: What to use as a binder?

      Excellent questions.

      The basic requirements seem to be:

      1) uses locally sourced materials

      2) strong

      3) can be made airtight

      4) extendible

      It has been suggested elsewhere that a good approach is to build structures (however you want) and then cover them with a good layer of loose regolith for protection, so expanded foam doesn't sound like a goer. A network of connected 3D printed igloos, covered in regolith, could be quite cosy, as well as cheap and practical. Be nice to have a few windows though.

      1. frank ly Silver badge

        Re: What to use as a binder?

        "... what to do about soiled astropants; ..."

        I'm not sure about where my mind is going but it might work.

    2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: What to use as a binder?

      However, it will require a mechanism to shed off lunar dust that settles on the mirrors

      My understanding is that lunar regolith is a nightmare because it becomes electrically charged and sticks to things electrostatically. The solution to this on a mirror (effectively a piece of shaped foil) would presumably be to have a potential difference between the mirror and a grid-shaped collector electrode underneath so that all the regolith sticks to that instead. Periodically reversing the potential for a short time would clean the collector.

      1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

        Re: What to use as a binder?

        The mirrors are failing! REVERSE THE POLARITY!

      2. Simon Harris Silver badge

        Re: What to use as a binder?

        Reversing the polarity seems to fix most things in space.

        http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ReversePolarity

    3. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      Re: What to use as a binder?

      "

      However, it will require a mechanism to shed off lunar dust that settles on the mirrors

      "

      What dust? The only dust that will be above ground level will be that kicked up by any activity - and that doesn't travel far and is short-lived. Each dust particle will behave the same as a large rock in the speed with which it falls back to the ground. Just situate the mirrors out of the arc of dust that the printing process might be raising, and they will remain pristine.

    4. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: What to use as a binder?

      "How does this 3D house printing compare with an inflatable structure which can be used as a former for polyurethane foam?"

      sounds good to me. and it could be made RE-USABLE to make MORE structures after the concrete cures.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunarcrete

      ok - you'd start with a thin enough layer so that the inflated structure doesn't collapse under the weight. But then, you remove the inflatable part, then build on top of the existing layer. I'd also assume some kind of support structure underneath it as well, not just air pressure. Lunar titanium. But it would begin with the inflatable structure that you mentioned. It's a good idea. I like it.

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

        Re: start with a thin enough layer so that the inflated structure doesn't collapse

        Albania built hundreds of smallish bunkers that way during the cold war.

    5. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: What to use as a binder?

      "The mirror array can be relatively lightweight, seeing as how it doesn't have to withstand any wind, and not too much gravity. However, it will require a mechanism to shed off lunar dust that settles on the mirrors"

      A second, larger array of mirrors to burn off any dust that settles on the first one. Of course, that will then have its own dust problems, but the solution at this point should be obvious...

  9. teknopaul Bronze badge

    Problem?

    Why is rubbish on the moon more complicated than it is on earth?

    Just need different coloured bins and the council will put it in different holes in the ground.

    1. Simon Harris Silver badge

      Re: Problem?

      Couldn't we cross-breed some Clangers and Wombles? That would solve the problem.

      1. Ralph the Wonder Llama
        Joke

        Re: Problem?

        Not really. We'd have a planet of Wangers, and we've already got one of those.

  10. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge
    Devil

    "A sphere or igloo-like dome is the most efficient shape for a habitat in a vacuum."

    Well which is it? Igloos aren't spheres -- they're helical catenoids.

    As you say, "the devil is always in the detail."

  11. Alister Silver badge

    practical challenges (such as what do with all the trash generated by astronauts) remained.

    That's easy, just build a rubbish dump next to the nuclear reactors on farside. What could go wrong?

  12. Kaltern

    Well the solution's easy innit...

    Just set up huge bonfires, strategically placed around the moon's surface. Add a few oxygen bottle for y'know, combustion, set them going... let the CO2 gather in the atmosphere.. plant a load of space-trees, and other various hardy plants.. they eat the CO2, produce oxygen... and that's the moon terraformed ready for the populace to move to.

    Foolproof plan. I should be King of Earth.

    1. ArrZarr Silver badge

      1. Store all the CO2 we're producing from industry and vehicles on Earth

      2. Ship it up to the moon, plant trees

      3. ???

      4. Profit

  13. herman Silver badge

    Moon Fills

    I have this strange feeling that there just might be enough craters on the moon to use as land/moon fills. Any garbage will be sterilized by the sun in short order.

  14. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    "A sphere or igloo-like dome is the most efficient shape for a habitat in a vacuum..."

    If the Moon's atmosphere was extremely high pressure, then this statement would be a slam dunk.

    Unfortunately, it's the opposite. It's a hard vacuum and are we planning to pressurize these habitats? The pressure differential might assist in holding up a large flat roof.

    All things considered, it's very unlikely that a minimum surface area sphere is optimum shape.

    By the way, has anyone figured out how to 3D Print a lintel in place. Specifically, making the Lintel Paste hang in mid-air (or on the Moon, hang in mid-vacuum) over the door or window opening, precisely the way that soggy paste generally doesn't in a gravitational field. Perhaps the Wall Paste Cartridge tube would have pre-hardened lintel beams distributed throughout the paste, and the 3D Printer would somehow squeeze its cheeks together and peristalsisly select and push-out a pre-hardened Lintel on command. Or perhaps, someday, doors and windows will be 3D Printed in place, complete with associated hardware (door knobs, hinges). Someday soon, all habitats will be 3D printed. Right down to 3D Printed lovely warm bread in the 3D Printed oven.

    1. Aqua Marina

      Re: "A sphere or igloo-like dome is the most efficient shape for a habitat in a vacuum..."

      Your problem could be solved by 3D printing construction bricks of various dimensions, then using something like this to lay them afterwards. Sort of a giant Lego technics set!

      https://youtu.be/FXhZEV22Jrw

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