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NASA awards $57.2 million contract to build habitats and roads on the moon

Callum Jones

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NASA awards $57.2 million contract to build habitats and roads on the moon

Featured Image Credit: NASA/ ICON

NASA has awarded a staggering $57 million (£47 million) contract that will build new habitats and roads on the moon.

When Neil Armstrong and co were the first to step foot on the moon in 1969, it was always hoped one day some people would end up living there.

Well, it might have taken longer than expected, but some people will now have the opportunity to do just that.

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This is because NASA is investing to build landing pads, habitats and roads on the lunar surface.

The contract to deliver this has been awarded to US based company ICON, who will 'develop construction technologies'.

Speaking on the contract, Niki Werkheiser, director of technology maturation in NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD), said: "In order to explore other worlds, we need innovative new technologies adapted to those environments and our exploration needs.

New habitats will hit the moon under the plans. Credit: ICON
New habitats will hit the moon under the plans. Credit: ICON
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"Pushing this development forward with our commercial partners will create the capabilities we need for future missions."

The $57.2 million worth contract will run until 2028 and will build on ICON's commercial activities and other work with NASA.

NASA say that ICON will work with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center under the Moon to Mars Planetary Autonomous Construction Technologies (MMPACT) project.

The company has previously shown its strength in cutting edge technology, so it's no surprise NASA has awarded the contract to them.

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Back in 2018, ICON built the first ever 3D-printed home in the US, with the company delivering entire communities with these houses in not only the US, but also Mexico.

ICON has also printed a 3-D 1,700-square-foot simulated Martian habitat, which is known as Mars Dune Alpha.

This will be used by NASA to train its astronauts for long-duration missions from 2023.

With this mega-money partnership, it is hoped that it will help NASA's aim to establish a base on the moon and send people up there within the next decade.

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NASA will use Mars Dune Alpha to train its astronauts. Credit: NASA
NASA will use Mars Dune Alpha to train its astronauts. Credit: NASA

Even more ambitious for the space agency is to send astronauts to Mars by the late 2030s or early 2040s.

A NASA chief has previously come out and said we will 'certainly' see people living on the moon this decade.

Speaking to the BBC, Orion lunar spacecraft programme leader Howard Hu, said: "Certainly this decade, we are going to have people living for durations.

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"Depending on how long we will be on the surface, they'll be living, they'll have habitats, they'll have rovers on the ground.

"That's what we are also working on at NASA, so not only are we able to work in delivering people to the moon, but getting people on the surface of the moon, they still have to have infrastructure."

Topics: Technology, NASA, Space

Callum Jones
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