'Igloos' on the moon: ISRO begins work on future outposts

While there's no mission plan as of now, ISRO wants to have the technology ready for building these structures.

'Igloos' on the moon: ISRO begins work on future outposts
(Representational image)

New Delhi: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has begun to work on what is well on its way to becoming India's biggest science programme in the next few years – building igloos on the moon.

Robots and 3D printers will be sent to the moon and lunar soil and other material will be used to create these 'lunar habitats', as scientists call them.

A working model has been set up created using a 3D printer in the space agency's lunar terrain test facility and the project has seen immense progress.

Scientists have drawn up five designs of the lunar habitats and wish to contribute and be a big part of the world's lunar programme.

While there's no mission plan as of now, ISRO wants to have the technology ready for building these structures.

Likening the igloos on the Moon to India's outpost in Antarctica, ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC) director M Annadurai told the Times of India (TOI), "We are planning to use the Moon as an outpost - like missions in Antarctica. In the long run, the space station is likely to be scrapped. Many countries, including the US, are considering building more permanent structures on the Moon and working out of there. When that happens, we want India to have contributed."

According to him, astronauts going to the Earth's satellite in the future will spend more than just a few hours there.

Annadurai said the space agency has mastered the process of creating lunar simulant (material that approximates the properties of lunar soil), and it has about 60 tonnes of it. Its properties match 99.6% with the samples brought from Moon by Apollo missions, TOI reported.

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