Cranfield to set up apprentice manufacturers on the moon

moon300Apprentices in engineering and manufacturing are being invited by Cranfield University to set up a manufacturing plant on the moon.

A competition, which is open to teams of apprentices from all UK manufacturing sectors,  will ask the apprentices to study existing research and activities in this area and create novel manufacturing ideas and build a demonstrator based on either of the following two scenarios:

a) Assuming a small human colony is already set-up on the moon, what manufacturing would you propose to make the colony self sustaining?

or

b) What manufacturing with local resources would you propose on the moon which is not possible on Earth?

A team of national judges will select the winner. Awards will be presented at Cranfield University on 20 May 2014.

Manufacturing on the moon is an ambitious project, say the boffins at Cranfield, “but is necessary to exploit opportunities on the moon for the benefit of us on the Earth. Lunar resources will become a vital element in space exploration and colonisation of the Moon in the 21st century. The development and operation of manufacturing plants on the moon able to produce equipment, housing and spare parts locally to support a permanently manned lunar base is a distinct opportunity.

“Research groups around the world are looking to utilise the low gravity level (1/6th of Earth) on the moon to develop novel manufacturing technologies for lunar application (such as 3D printing) and construction structures and manufacturing techniques. Mining of lunar materials has attracted research teams to develop a new generation of mining equipment that could actually be manufactured and assembled on the moon.”

This material is protected by copyright Ken Hurst 2013.

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About Ken Hurst

Ken Hurst began his career as a journalist in London over 30 years ago, working on a range of publications before moving on to weekly newspaper production in the newly-independent Zambia of the 1970s. He returned to the UK where his work included spells on newspapers and magazines, before moving to head up Norwich Union’s corporate affairs division. In the 1990s he moved on to freelance, co-own and publish the B2B audio magazine Sound and front the BBC radio Yesterday’s Papers programme. There followed six years as Business Editor at Britain’s biggest selling regional daily newspaper, The Eastern Daily Press, where he led an award-winning team and for whom he still writes a weekly socio/political comment column. Subsequently, he was Group Editorial Director at CBM, responsible for its UK and US magazine output – including The Manufacturer magazine – research-driven industry reports and live events content. Currently he is Contributing Editor at Works Management magazine publisher Findlay Media and Chairman of the consumer publishing house TNT Multimedia Ltd. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and of the British Association of Communicators in Business.
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