Saturday, September 25

Blood, sweat and tears to make cement on Mars? | Digital Trends Spanish

A group of scientists from the University of Manchester has proposed a unique method to solve the problem associated with the lack of building materials on Mars.

According to the researchers, the solution would be cement made of dust with the blood, sweat and tears of the astronauts.

The study shows how a protein from the blood combined with a compound from urine, sweat or tears could bond the simulated soil of the Moon or Mars to make a material stronger than traditional concrete.

The cost of moving construction materials to the Red Planet is very high; in fact, it is estimated that carrying a single brick would have a value close to 2 million dollars.

This means that future settlers will have to use the resources they can obtain from that location for construction and shelter, known as in situ resource utilization (ISRU).

NASA / JPL-Caltech / Cornell

This new resulting material has been called AstroCrete, it offers strengths of up to 25 MPa (megapascals), which is almost the same as the 20-32 MPa observed in ordinary concrete.

The scientists also found that adding urea, sweat, and tears could increase compressive strength by more than 300 percent.

“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 lie within us all the time,” the study authors note.

In this way, the researchers believe that more than 500 kg of high-strength AstroCrete could be produced over the course of a two-year mission to the Martian surface by a crew of six astronauts.

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