The hollow cell structure of this 1.5 tonne block, 3D printed from simulated lunar dust, let it combine strength with low weight, like bird bones.
The building block is on show in the laboratory corridor of ESA’s ESTEC technical centre in the Netherlands, visited during public tours from neighbouring Space Expo.

Produced using a binding salt as ‘ink’, the structure was made during an initial feasibility project on lunar 3D printing.

ESA has subsequently investigated other types of lunar 3D printing, including solar sintering and ceramics.

Credits: ESA-G. Porter larger image