The moon may be the next hot real-estate development opportunity.
Austin-based 3D home printing company Icon won a $57.2 million contract with NASA to develop technology to help build lunar infrastructure like roads, landing pads, and habitats, according to a press release.
The contract runs through 2028, and expands upon other Icon partnerships with the federal government to develop the company’s Olympus construction system. To avoid importing building supplies from Earth, Olympus is designed to use construction materials on the moon and Mars.
“In order to explore other worlds, we need innovative new technologies to those environments and our exploration needs,” Niki Werkheiser, director of technology maturation in NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, said in a statement.
Icon’s other work with NASA includes Mars Dune Alpha, a 1,700-square-foot 3D-printed Martian habitat that will be employed in the space administration’s Crew Health and Performance Analog mission next year.
The construction technology startup raised $185 million in a funding round that closed in February, bringing its total funding to $451 million. An anonymous source told TechCrunch at the time of the funding round the company was estimated to be worth $2 billion.
Icon debuted America’s first permitted 3D-printed home in 2018, just one year after the company was founded. Last October it announced a partnership with homebuilding giant Lennar to develop a community of 100 3D-printed homes in Austin. The first home in the project debuted in March, featuring the 2,000-square-foot “House Zero,” and a 350-square-foot guest house, which took just eight days to build with the firm’s Vulcan technology.