Chinese scientists have started exploring the possibility of using 3D printing technology for the construction of buildings on the moon.

According to a China Daily report, China’s lunar programme officials have claimed that the country already has a ‘grand roadmap’ to facilitate exploration and development programmes to establish habitation on the moon in the coming years.

The latest effort is expected to use the country’s Chang’e 8 lunar mission, that will be deployed to carry out on-site investigations of the mineral composition and environment.

It will help in validating whether advanced human-developed technologies, for instance 3D printing, can work on the lunar surface, using lunar materials, or not.

In an interview with China Daily, China National Space Administration scientist and Chinese Academy of Engineering academician Wu Weiren said: “If we wish to stay on the moon for a long time, we need to set up stations by using the moon’s own materials.”

Weiren said that Chang’e 8 robotic exploration effort will soon land on the moon’s South Pole.

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He added: “Lunar soil will be our raw material and it will be printed into construction units. Professors at several domestic universities, such as Tongji University in Shanghai and Xi’an Jiaotong University in Shaanxi province, have already begun studying the possible applications of 3D printing technology on the moon.”

China’s lunar mission series includes Chang’e 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 missions. Chang’e 5 has already returned to the Earth in 2020 after retrieving soil samples from the moon’s near side, while 4 is operating in the lunar space from last four years to conduct surveys.

The Chang’e 6 mission, which is expected to launch in 2025, will be tasked to collect lunar samples from the moon’s far side.

It will be followed by Chang’e 7 robotic probe that will undertake ‘high-precision investigations’ on the moon’s South Pole.

Chinese Academy of Engineering experts have also said that then country will launch a robot by 2028 to make ‘lunar soil bricks’, Reuters said in a report.