As a Research Assistant, Behnaz Farahi worked on a project undertaken by USC Professors Behrokh Khoshnevis (Engineering), Neil Leach (Architecture), Anders Carlson (Architecture) and Madhu Thangavelu (Astronautics) under a NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) grant to explore the potential use of the robotic fabrication technology and Contour Crafting for building structures on the Moon.

The grant was one of only 30 awarded to over 700 applicants by the NASA Innovation Advanced Concepts Program (NIAC). The title of their research proposal was Contour Crafting Simulation Plan for Lunar Settlement Infrastructure Build Up.

The robot prints the structure layer by layer using lunar concrete composed of regolith from the surface of the Moon. Contour Crafting was invented originally for use on earth by Behrokh Khoshnevis.

Visualization of Contour Crafting technology mounted on an ATHLETE lunar rover, fabricating structural shelter on the Moon. A Contour Crafting robot, housed on an ATHLETE rover, is shown here printing a vault structure out of processed regolith. The structure is intended to house a lunar lander or other equipment, and is unpressurized. The parabolic form has been adopted, because it is structurally efficient and lends itself to the Contour Crafting mode of construction. In the background can be seen an array of solar panels intended to supply power to the robot.

Design stages for Lunar Settlement NASA
The project plays with the intimacy of our bodies and the environment.
Render of lander descending onto a landing pad
The landing pad has been designed as an ellipse with its length in line with the direction of landing and takeoff with a central landing area lit up by lights, surrounded by a broader dust-free apron. A blast wall is also visible, protecting the entire settlement and items of equipment stored behind it.
Render of Contour Crafting robot printing a road
A Contour Crafting robot prints a road in front of a parabolic hangar structure housing a lunar lander. The background features a plant intended for processing regolith that will be used in the construction process.
Diagram of Lunar Settlement NASA