An increasing number of countries are interested in production on the moon, for example to develop new production facilities. In order to create a local infrastructure for this purpose and to reduce high transport costs, a solution is to extract the barrels directly from raw materials available on the moon.
Arañó Romero from the Institute of Textile Technology at RWTH Aachen University (ITA), Aachen/Germany, has shown in his paper "Miniaturized spinning plant for the production of mineral continuous fibers under micro-gravity" how a spinning plant can be operated under space conditions.
The transport of payloads into space, e.g. for research missions or the construction and supply of manned lunar stations, poses immense economic challenges as well as technological and physical complexities. With payload costs of €1.1million/kg to the lunar surface, weight reduction is of utmost priority, especially concerning space projects that require large freight volumes. However, raw materials from the Moon or Mars in the form of regolith are suitable to produce habitat building materials, thus, reducing freight costs to ease and allow furthering missions into space. For this purpose, continuous mineral fibers, e.g. basalt fibers, can be utilized in situ to produce fiber composites, thermal insulation, filters and hydroponic mineral wool for plant cultivation, among other things. However, this requires an automated spinning unit that can operate under conditions found in space.