Mars has always attracted us as one of the primary frontiers for space exploration. Colonisation of Mars was first proposed by NASA in 2015 and today there is a belief that Mars can indeed sustain life due to its distance from the sun, its own gravity and thin atmospheric layer. This colonisation is a mission to continue the human race beyond earth.
Transportation of a single brick to Mars is estimated to cost around $2 million, Imagine the enormous cost of colonising Mars! In order to overcome this massive problem, scientists from University of Manchester brainstormed and worked to ideate how to build materials on Mars itself. This technique known as in-situ resource utilisation uses loose rock, Martian soil and sparse water deposits to create concrete like material.
It has been demonstrated by scientists that protein from our blood plasma can act as a binder for simulated moon or Mars dust to produce a concrete like material. This material called Astro Crete, has compressive strengths as high as 25 MPa which is the same as that of ordinary concrete. If this composition is mixed with sweat, urine and tears the compressive strength can increase to 40 MPa.
This idea dates back to the medieval era when animal blood was used to make mortar. There is an interaction known as “beta sheets” that holds materials together by extended structures made by blood proteins.
Over 500kg of high strength Astro Crete could be produced by a crew of six astronauts on a two-year mission on Mars. Each crew can produce Astro Crete to support an additional crew member. With each successive mission this Astro Crete can double the housing availability.
This new proposed technique by scientists can provide significant advantages over other construction methods in outer space. Logistical advantages are the first step towards realisation of construction dreams in Mars.