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LUPIN (Lunar Lithography Manufacturing)

Programme Reference
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LUPIN (Lunar Lithography  Manufacturing)

Nowadays, human Moon exploration, and the consequent desire to establish a permanent settlement on its surface, represents one of the most fascinating challenge to face. The permanent presence of a human outpost very far from Earth raises the problem of the huge amount of payload required for the settlement, as well as the need of rapid and in-time supply of material and spare parts useful for all the activities carried out in-situ, including the realization of medicals tools and patient-specific back-up implants. Additive Layering Manufacturing (ALM) can give an answer to this problem, but its combination with ceramic material arises some issues. Thus, Lithoz introduced a new methodology, called Lithography-Based Ceramic Manufacturing (LCM), where the ceramic powder is distributed in a photocurable monomer formulation in presence of a photoinitiator.

In 2018, ESA issued a General Studies Programme (GSP) named “Conceiving a lunar base using 3D printing technologies” to evaluate the feasibility and implementation effort required in establishing the possible uses of ALM in easing the construction, expansion, operation and maintenance of a lunar base. Up to fifty-two ALM technologies were assessed and LCM technology was selected in the short list (composed by four ALM process), because it bridges the material gap, as it can produce precision ceramic parts as well as cutting edge biomedical devices and personalized medical products providing high-performance and biocompatible ceramics.

The LUPIN study aimed to to evaluate the feasibility and implementation effort required in adapting LCM to process lunar regolith in a lunar environment, in view of the permanent and sustainable presence of a human outpost on the Moon with a reduced logistic demand, consequently released from onerous and not always timely terrestrial supplies

Executive summary