The last few days it has been revealed that NASA are planning a test of a 3D solar fuser printer. On the moon!
Having seen a rather cool video of a chap who went out to the Sahara to trial his idea of making cups, bowls and other items using a steerable array of lenses by literally fusing the sand with the intense sunlight. It worked. Not brilliantly, but it was an impressive trial – you can see it on YouTube and read more here: http://www.gizmag.com/solar-sinter-3d-printer/19046/
And now, since the moon has no atmosphere and gets twice the level of solar radiation, NASA has realised that, since there’s also tonnes of really sharp and fine moondust up there (and not a lot else) this system is probably going to be quite useful for making pots in space, but also, more usefully, bricks and trenches and other things.
Once there is an astronaut or two up there, and after a few structures have been tested for burst strength and porosity, they will have somewhere to live. A stairway, or at least a stepping stone, at least to other planets, and perhaps, to the stars.