ICON Secures $57.2M to Build Habitable Structures in Space
Men have walked on the moon for decades and now it’s time that they live on the moon, according to NASA.
On Tuesday, construction tech and 3D printing company ICON secured a $57.2 million contract with NASA to research and develop construction methods that “support planned exploration of the moon and beyond.” The Austin-based tech company is now tasked with developing housing solutions for space.
ICON has made a name for itself as one of the first companies to construct 3D-printed homes in Austin and has raised serious capital since launching in 2017. Back in February, the company raised $185 million. To date, ICON said it has raised $451 million in funding.
To construct 3D-printed homes, ICON uses several robotics systems that build up a house by first tracing the outline of the planned structure and then adding layers of material to construct walls, entryways, hallways and bedrooms.
Building on the moon will of course have different requirements. ICON will test its current tech in lunar gravity through simulation flights that duplicate gravity on the moon’s surface. After that, the company will test moon samples to determine mechanical behavior.
The goal of the research is to find methods to construct livable structures on the moon that uses materials that are found on the moon. This method would reduce the amount of material transported from Earth into space.
“To change the space exploration paradigm from ‘there and back again’ to ‘there to stay,’ we’re going to need robust, resilient and broadly capable systems that can use the local resources of the moon and other planetary bodies,” Jason Ballard, ICON co-founder and CEO, said in a statement.