The ultimate product from extraterrestrial in-situ resource utilization is a self-replicating machine by virtue of its ability to exponentially expand productive capacity. Self-replication is a byproduct of the universal constructor and we propose that 3D printing technology constitutes a universal construction mechanism. Universal construction is based on the manufacture of robotic mechanisms that are the core to any motorized kinematic machine. All robotic mechanisms are mechatronic systems comprising motors, sensors and control system. We present preliminary work to demonstrate that electric motors and electronics (as the medium of control) can be 3D printed. We also impose the constraint that our self-replicating machine be constructed entirely from lunar-derived materials. The acquisition of these materials is emphasized. The existence of self-replication capacity on the Moon would revolutionise space exploration and introduce the possibility of robust space-based solutions to our current global environmental problems at low cost.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1061/9780784479971.066
Conference 15th Biennial International Conference on Engineering, Science, Construction, and Operations in Challenging Environments, Earth and Space 2016
Citation
Ellery, A. (2016). How to Build a Self-Replicating Machine on the Moon. In Earth and Space 2016: Engineering for Extreme Environments - Proceedings of the 15th Biennial International Conference on Engineering, Science, Construction, and Operations in Challenging Environments (pp. 713–724). doi:10.1061/9780784479971.066