The robot tasked with making bricks out of lunar soil will be launched during China’s Chang’e-8 mission around 2028.
Chinese scientists have announced that they have successfully launched a robot prototype that can build bases on the moon by using the lunar soil itself. Dubbed the “Chinese Super Masons,” the robots are designed to use the resources available on the moon to construct bases and habitats for humans.
According to the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the robots were launched on a Long March-5 rocket on Friday, April 15th, 2023, from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in southern China. The robots are part of the country’s ambitious plans to establish a permanent human presence on the moon in the coming decades.
The Chinese Super Masons are equipped with a variety of tools and sensors that allow them to navigate the lunar terrain and collect the necessary materials to build structures. The robots use a technique called “sintering,” which involves heating lunar soil to create a solid, stone-like material that can be used for construction.
“By using local materials for construction, we can reduce the amount of resources we need to bring from Earth, which is incredibly expensive,” said Dr. Chen Guoliang, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences who is involved in the project.
The Chinese Super Masons are also designed to work autonomously, without the need for human intervention. This is important because the moon’s harsh environment makes it difficult for humans to live and work there for extended periods of time.
The robots are just one part of China’s broader efforts to establish a permanent human presence on the moon. In recent years, the country has launched a series of lunar missions, including the successful landing of the Chang’e-5 spacecraft, which collected samples from the moon’s surface and returned them to Earth.
China’s lunar program is part of a broader trend of space exploration and colonization, with countries and private companies around the world investing in technologies that can support long-term human habitation in space. As Dr. Chen noted, “Our goal is to build a sustainable and self-sufficient presence on the moon, and the Chinese Super Masons are an important step towards achieving that goal.”
By The Impactlab