Most of the concepts for lunar bases we tend to see are dome-shaped, built locally here on Earth and then transported. The “Masons of Regolith,” a team of seven Virginia Tech students named for the rock that is present on the Earth, the Moon and asteroids, think that those domes could be built on the lunar surface instead, made from rock gathered on site.
All told, the Tech students are informed by old-school and ancient building practices to get the job done. Structures built by the team’s simulated regolith were about as strong as concrete and, since mortaring several brick together isn’t really an option in space, the team had to make an igloo of specially molded blocks that could support its own weight.
There are still a few hurdles to clear, however. The process used to fire the bricks hasn’t been tested in a vacuum and the domes aren’t exactly airtight (though they could still shield astronauts from debris and radiation). Still, it’s a promising show of progress for NASA’s proposed return to the lunar surface.