Blood, sweat, tears, urine, and space dust from astronauts could be used to construct homes on Mars.
Researchers have developed a building material manufactured from space dust and astronaut physiological fluids such as blood, sweat, and tears that may be made in space.
The concrete-like material was developed by a team at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom as a method to avoid the high cost and logistical challenges of carrying building materials to space.
A building material that can be manufactured in-situ is essential if humanity is to ever erect a dwelling on the surface of the Moon or Mars. This is exemplified by the fact that in 2017, the engineering magazine Structure projected that transporting just one brick to the surface of Mars would cost $2 million.
This means that eventual Mars colonists will most likely have to build shelter and other essential amenities using resources found on the Red Planet’s surface.
In a report published in the journal Materials Today Bio, the scientists revealed the procedure used to make the substance, which they have called “AstroCrete.”
In a press release, main author and University of Manchester researcher Aled Roberts said, “Scientists have been striving to create feasible methods to produce concrete-like materials on the surface of Mars, but we never paused to think that the answer might have been inside us all along.”
The researchers revealed that human serum albumin, a common protein found in human blood plasma, has the ability to bind together dust from the Moon or Mars.
“We were previously looking at synthetic spider silk as a bio-based adhesive, but by chance discovered that a protein from blood works even better,” said Roberts. “We discovered that the glue adhered well to glass, so we reasoned that it should adhere to sand as well, since they are both formed of silica.
“From there, we deduced that it should be able to stick moon and Mars dust together as well, given that they are both predominantly made up of silica.”
The mixture forms a concrete-like substance with compression resistance akin to what we use in construction projects on Earth. The scientists then went even further, mixing in additional physiological fluids.
The researchers discovered that urea, a waste product excreted in urine, perspiration, and tears, could be the culprit. This is a condensed version of the information.