The MOONRISE project, which aims to marry laser technology with a rover design. As Niklas Gerdes, a research assistant from the LZH, explained in a LZH press release:
“We want to bring a laser system to the moon, which is supposed to melt moon dust, the so-called regolith. We would thus take the first step to take Additive Manufacturing, that is 3D printing, to the moon.”
As a technology-demonstrator, the purpose of MOONRISE is to validate the lightweight laser system designed by the IRAS/LZH science team.
The plan is to use a laser system that weighs less than 6.6 pounds to melt the dust, soil, and loose rock covering the lunar surface, transforming it into a material astronauts could then use as the “ink” in a 3D printer to build the components of a lunar outpost.
The organizations plan to enlist German-based space company PTScientists to deliver their tech to the Moon in 2021 — meaning we could know the viability of the system in just two short years.