Bold Business Logo
Close this search box.

The Next Real Estate Frontier – Say Hello to Lunarians and Martians

NASA’s plans for outer space involve a space house

The last time humankind stepped onto the lunar surface was 1972. That means it’s been more than half-a-century since the Apollo mission took place. Since that time, NASA has had many setbacks with the Challenger explosion being at the top of the list. But that’s about to changed based on how NASA’s approaching its next planned manned mission. Through openly pursuing collaborations with universities and private industry, NASA’s plans for outer space are quite impressive. Not only do they plan to have astronauts back on the moon by 2025, but they also anticipate people traveling to the moon and living there by 2040. A great deal has to be accomplished for this to become reality. But according to scientists involved, these expectations are certainly realistic.

a house isn't part of NASA’s plans for outer space
Sure, NASA’s plans for outer space revolve around travel, but you can’t ignore real estate!

(Someday you might be able to ride a SpaceX to the moon–read about it in this Bold story.)

Naturally, to have people living on the moon, a significant amount of infrastructure will need to be in place. That means major investments in construction to create dwellings and commercial buildings on the lunar surface. It also means creating regular transit schedules to and from the moon. Several projects between NASA and its partners are already underway to support these needs including several simulations and testing programs. Some are even exploring the possibility of extended life on Mars as well. As such, NASA’s plans for outer space appear to be rather comprehensive. And it may well be communities on both planets may well be in place within many of our lifetimes.

“We’re at a pivotal moment [in living on the moon], and in some ways it feels like a dream sequence. In other ways, it feels like it was inevitable that we would get here.” – Niki Werkheiser, Director of Technology Maturation, NASA

A Focus on Sustainability and Resourcefulness

When it comes to living on the moon, or even Mars for that matter, there are some clear logistical issues. For one, temperatures can be extreme on the moon, sometimes reaching 600 degrees Fahrenheit. At the same time, the lunar surface is covered with lunar dust, which is toxic to inhale. And then there are some risks related to radiation and micrometeorites. But when it comes to constructing homes or buildings, the biggest hurdle is related to materials. For every kilogram of weight added to a rocket, the cost increases by $1,000,000. That makes supplying materials for construction impractical and certainly unsustainable. But as part of NASA’s plans for outer space, there’s a workaround. It involves using the moon’s own materials for creating community infrastructures.

Some kind of settlement on Mars
Everyone’s thinking about rockets and spacecraft, but no one is thinking about real estate agents… yet.

NASA currently is involved in several partnerships experimenting with using lunar dust and minerals for lunar construction. For example, ICON is a construction tech firm in Austin, Texas, adept at using 3D-printing for home construction. It is currently exploring a space-based construction system using 3-D printing technology with lunar dust/concrete as a base. NASA is also collaborating with Stanford University to create design colors for dwellings from the moon’s minerals. And a handful of other partners are exploring furniture design from lunar materials for living on the moon. If these systems prove viable, they will not only support lunar living. They will also support NASA’s plans for outer space more broadly.

“When we talk about a sustainable human presence, to me that means that you have a lunar settlement and you have people living and working on the moon continuously. What that could be is only up to the imagination of entrepreneurs.” – Raymond Clinton Jr., Senior Technical Adviser of the Science and Technology, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

NASA’s Aggressive Plans for Space Travel

someone living on the moon
If you’re living on the moon, do you rent or own?

There’s no question that NASA’s plans for outer space today are much different from the last several decades. In November, 2022, Artemis I successfully launched a robotics rocket that successfully orbited around the moon and returned. Around the same time in 2024, Artemis II will conduct the same voyage but with a four-person crew. And in 2025, Artemis III expects a crew to land on the lunar surface. Of course, these are simply the missions involving transit to and from the moon. Much more is going on behind the scenes during these years to prepare us for living on the moon. And even more work will be done before the same may be considered for Mars.

Interestingly enough, it will not be long before the first real estate subdivision is anticipated on the moon. NASA predicts such a community will be in place by 2040, which is astounding. In order for people to be living on the moon, more than just homes, groceries, and transportation will be required. Healthcare facilities, entertainment venues, and telecommunications will be needed as well. Likewise, environmental extremes will limit activities outside a dwelling, meaning these communities must be self-sufficient indoors. This depicts the magnitude of the project that lies ahead for NASA and its partners. Based on NASA’s plans for outer space living, there’s no doubt this timetable is aggressive.

“In 10 years construction technology might be very different, the type of robots we use might be very different, and the A.I. that we use will be different. But what we can do right now is come up with the training strategies that make construction workers ready for the future to come.” – Amirhosein Jafari, Assistant Professor of Construction Technology, Louisiana State University

Moving on from the Moon to Mars

As part of NASA’s plans for outer space, Mars is believed to be a better location eventually for dwelling and commercial activities. This is particularly true of mining and excavation. As such, NASA is moving ahead with these plans with its partners as well. ICON, for example, created the Mars Dune Alpha, which is a 1,700 sqft simulation pod for astronaut training. Printed using 3D-printing technologies, the simulator is burnt orange to mimic Mars’ surface. Astronauts will spend a year inside before being released and debriefed. This highlights NASA’s longer-term intentions, and the moon plays a role in this. If the moon can serve as a refueling station to Mars, then living on the moon and Mars becomes viable. These are lofty goals, especially since the plan for living on Mars has targeted the year 2050. After so many years void of human space travel, it’s clear that plans have changed.


Did you catch Bold Business’ series on AI deepfake technology? Dig into one of the stories here!

Don't miss out!

The Bold Wire delivers our latest global news, exclusive top stories, career
opportunities and more.

Thank you for subscribing!