Two-Dimensional Laser Melting of Lunar Regolith Simulant Using the MOONRISE Payload on a Mobile Manipulator
3D Print. Addit. Manuf.
Type: Zeitschriftenaufsatz (reviewed)
Laser melting experiments were carried out with the MOONRISE payload, installed on the mobile manipulator, MIRA3D. The MOONRISE payload was developed to demonstrate the feasibility of additive processing of lunar regolith with the help of lasers on the Moon within a lunar surface mission in the next years. The development of hardware for the flight to the moon is well advanced and, if successful, would pave the way for the use of laser melting for production of components from regolith. The aim of the experiments described in this article was to test the planned scenario on the Moon, especially the interaction between laser payload, manipulator, and soil surface, and to identify suitable process parameters for production of two-dimensional (2D) objects. The ability to produce 2D objects is an important intermediate step on the way to produce large three-dimensional structures such as habitats, walls, or foundations. During the experiments, specimens with a size of ∼20 × 20 × 4 mm were repeatedly produced. As analog material, two synthetic lunar soils produced with the modular regolith simulant systems from Technische Universität Braunschweig (TUBS) were used. The experiments were conducted under Earth gravity and atmospheric conditions. This article describes the hardware used, procedure for carrying out the experiments, and properties of the produced samples.