A Texas company has been assigned a pivotal role in NASA's mission to establish a long-term human presence on the Moon. NASA awarded Austin-based company ICON, which is best known for building 3D printed homes, a $57.2 million contract to research and develop construction technologies to help build infrastructures such as landing pads, habitats, and roads on the lunar surface, according to a news release from the space agency.
The contract runs through 2028 and will support the Artemis program, which aims to establish a sustainable human presence on the Moon by 2028 and eventually send humans to Mars. "In order to explore other worlds, we need innovative new technologies adapted to those environments and our exploration needs," said Niki Werkheiser, director of technology maturation in NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate, in the release. "Pushing this development forward with our commercial partners will create the capabilities we need for future missions."