One of the first civilizations to make ceramics about 10,000 years ago, China is now developing technology to manufacture ceramics in space. Potential uses of this technology are to build bases on the Moon, Mars or other planets, or to make vessels such as tea cups from lunar dust or Martian soil. Scientists at the CAS Technology and Engineering Center for Space Utilization have completed the world’s first ceramic manufacturing experiment under microgravity aboard a European parabolic flight aircraft in Switzerland. As fine particles are difficult to control as they float easily in a microgravity environment, the scientists developed a technology to mix the powder into a resin to form a paste, and then solidified it with digital light processing. The long-term goal is to develop intelligent machines for 3D printing that can work on the Moon or Mars.

CAS news release, June 20, 2018