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Researchers hope to create 3D-printed tools made of moon rock for use on lunar outposts

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Researchers at Washington State University are using 3D printing technology to create objects made of moon rock for use in space. Lead by Amit Bandyopadhyay, professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at WSU, the team has been working with NASA to devise a way to construct tools on a lunar outpost, as opposed to dealing with the difficult and expensive task of transporting equipment through space.

To assist with research, NASA supplied the group with 10 pounds of raw lunar regolith simulant, an imitation moon rock, which has been used to create a few simple shapes through 3D fabrication. The initial results, however, were less than ideal, with Bandyopadhyay saying, "It doesn't look fantastic, but you can make something out of it." The team is also testing the addition of earth-based materials to the composition, with hopes to create stronger tools than those built from moon rock alone.