1 August 2018 to 31 October 2020
Sponsored by: 


MOONRISEMoonrise-Logo. (Grafik: LZH)
Investigating the processing of Moon Regolith by means of Laser Melting in support of future Lunar Bases

With the ambitious MOONRISE project, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Institute of Space Systems (IRAS) of the Technischen Universität Braunschweig are aiming at melting moon dust with a laser to make it usable as building material. International space agencies and companies not only plan the further exploration, but also the settlement in space. The moon is of great importance as a research station and starting point for further expeditions. But the transport costs to the moon are enormous: about 700,000 euros per kilogram of loading capacity. Therefore, infrastructure, components and devices, etc., would at best have to be produced directly on the Earth's satellite.

Goal: 3D printing with moon dust
This is where MOONRISE comes in and wants to bring a laser system to the moon, which is there to melt moon dust, the so-called regolith, and thus bring additive manufacturing, i.e. 3D printing, to the moon. The project partners Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Institute of Space Systems (IRAS) of the Technical University of Braunschweig want to prove that a laser weighing less than three kilograms and the volume of a large juice package can purposefully melt raw materials on the moon, and convert them into versatile structures later. If this succeeds, the researchers can test their pioneering technology under real conditions - and as an outpost in space additively manufacture a "moon village".

Die MOONRISE-Technologie im Einsatz auf dem Mond. (Grafik: LZH)Targeted melting in predefined structures is monitored and documented with high-resolution cameras. The findings from the experiments will have a fundamental impact on exploratory missions in general. For if the experiment succeeds on the moon, the MOONRISE process can be scaled up to produce larger structures. Thus, in the long term, whole infrastructures such as foundations, paths, and landing surfaces could be built using the MOONRISE manufacturing technology.

The big day shall be in 2021: The MOONRISE laser of LZH and IRAS will be part of the moon mission of the PTScientists and integrated into the rover with a rocket sent to the earth satellite. Regardless of reaching the moon's mission goal, this project will provide the scientific-technical foundation for 3D printing on the moon.

The research project is funded by the VolkswagenStiftung within the scope of the "Offen – für Außergewöhnliches“ ("open for the extraordinary") program.

Dipl.-Biol. Lena Bennefeld
Head of Communication Department
Phone: +49-(0) 511 2788 419

For more information please see the joint press release of the TU Braunschweig and the LZH.