Concrete made from space dust and astronauts’ ‘blood’ could be used to build houses on Mars

A protein from human blood, combined with urine, sweat and tears could create a glue-like substance to form concrete, called AstroCrete, on the moon and Mars.

The innovation comes from scientists at the University of Manchester who set out to tackle the issues, and cost, of sending building materials into space.

The ‘glue’ holds lunar or Mars soil together, producing a concrete-like material that the researchers say is 300 percent stronger than ordinary concrete.

The scientists calculate that over 1,100 pounds of high-strength AstroCrete could be produced during a two-year Mars mission by a crew of six astronauts. 

However, 200 pounds of concrete is needed to construct just one square foot of a single-level home. 

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The innovation comes from scientists at the University of Manchester who set out to tackle the issues, and cost, of sending building materials into space

The innovation comes from scientists at the University of Manchester who set out to tackle the issues, and cost, of sending building materials into space

If used as a workable for sandbags or heat-fused regolith bricks, each astronaut could produce enough cosmic concrete to expand the habitat to support an additional crew member, doubling the housing available with each successive missions, according to the team.

‘Our calculations suggest that each astronaut – over the course of a Martian mission – could produce enough additional habitat space to support another astronaut, potentially allowing the steady expansion of an early Martian colony,’ the team shared in the journal Materials Today Bio.

It costs about $2 million for a single brick to travel to Mars, which means it is near impossible for future Martian colonists to bring the building materials with them to the Red Planet.

Although 3D printing habitats has been the going method for building cities on the distant world, researches are proposing using materials from the astronauts themselves to pump through such systems.

A protein from human blood, combined with urine, sweat and tears could create a glue-like substance to form concrete, called AstroCrete, on the moon and Mars

A protein from human blood, combined with urine, sweat and tears could create a glue-like substance to form concrete, called AstroCrete, on the moon and Mars

The 'glue' holds lunar or Mars soil together, producing a concrete-like material that the researchers say is 300 percent stronger than ordinary concrete

The ‘glue’ holds lunar or Mars soil together, producing a concrete-like material that the researchers say is 300 percent stronger than ordinary concrete

The team proposes using the common protein found in blood plasma, known as human serum albumin, which would act as a binder for the cosmic dust.

However, further work showed that by adding urine, sweat and tears dramatically increased the strength of the concrete.

Dr Aled Roberts, from The University of Manchester, who worked on the project, said that the new technique holds considerable advantages over many other proposed construction techniques on the moon and Mars.

‘Scientists have been trying to develop viable technologies to produce concrete-like materials on the surface of Mars, but we never stopped to think that the answer might be inside us all along’, he said in a statement

Last year, researchers at Singapore University of Technology and Design proposed using a substance found in fish scales and fungi called chitin to build habitats on Mars.

Last year, researchers at Singapore University of Technology and Design proposed using a substance found in fish scales and fungi called chitin to build habitats on Mars. Chitin is one of the most ubiquitous organic polymers on Earth, and when mixed with Martian soil, it could make a sturdy enough material to build tools and shelters

Last year, researchers at Singapore University of Technology and Design proposed using a substance found in fish scales and fungi called chitin to build habitats on Mars. Chitin is one of the most ubiquitous organic polymers on Earth, and when mixed with Martian soil, it could make a sturdy enough material to build tools and shelters

Chitin is one of the most ubiquitous organic polymers on Earth, and when mixed with Martian soil, it could make a sturdy enough material to build tools and shelters.

The organic polymer could be sourced on Mars from the bio-conversion of organic waste by insects or fungi – which could be grown on farms.

In preliminary tests of the material, the experts have constructed a wrench and a mini model of a Martian habitat with the resilience of plastics.

Chitin could help NASA and private companies such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX, which plan to establish human colonies on Mars in the next 20 years.


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