Space Concrete and the Future of Colonies on Mars

An Alternative To Shipping Tonnes of Concrete To Mars

With NASA predicting that humans will set foot on Mars for the first time by the year 2030, it comes as no surprise that the next step would be to initiate colonization on the red planet. And with the prospects of colonization comes the need for construction materials to build our Martian headquarters.

But not so fast… how on earth do we plan on providing the time and resources required to ship the thousands of tonnes of concrete material necessary to build a sustainable Martian economy? And how do we plan on accounting for the showers of micrometeorites that constantly bombard the surface of Mars which would quickly punch holes into any ordinary structure we find on Earth?

As it is logistically impossible for us to ship tons of concrete from our home planet to Mars, the only alternative is to make it in space itself, and so Stanford and NASA scientists went ahead and created a new form of concrete that we can produce on Mars.

How it’s made

David Loftus at NASA’s Ames Research Center and Micheal Lepech, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford School of Engineering turned to the idea of using Martian soil that is bound together by animal proteins which make up things such as shells, bones, and teeth. To replicate the conditions found on Mars, the researchers combined bovine blood protein with simulated extraterrestrial soils that are similar to what is found on Mars. What resulted in their first bio-concrete batch was concrete that was as strong as that used for sidewalks and patios. It also held strong to micrometeorites which were replicated by blasting the concrete with high-speed gas particles.

The idea is that we will be able to make concrete on Mars, by first utilizing Martian soil, and also, by creating biological factories of organisms which are genetically engineered to produce the necessary protein binder. This would be done the same way that biotech companies use genetically engineered bacteria in making synthetic hormones.

Not only does this plan – if executed properly – ensure our ability to create strong building materials from resources on Mars, by using bio-based concrete, the binding proteins can actually be recycled and reused over time.

Source: http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/converting-martian-soil-into-concrete/article18404584.ece
Photo credit: Twentieth Century Fox

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles

Use These Tech Tools for More Efficient Cold Weather Concreting

Let’s dive into our sensors in detail.   Learn More SmartRock Sensors:    SmartRock is a wireless concrete sensor designed for temperature and strength monitoring with the ability to record real-time temperature data for every 15-minute interval for 2 months and comes with remote-monitoring capabilities. It is fast, simple, designed rugged and waterproof, and can be activated and installed hassle-free. The sensor contains two points of temperature measurements located in the sensor cable and body, and comes with an extended temperature cable and probe for mass concrete purposes. This sensor can measure temperature as low as -22℉ (-30℃) with an accuracy range of ±1℃.   The SmartRock sensor, containing a black box, a…

Everything You Need to Know About Pouring Concrete in Winter

Winter is coming! Worried about the cold weather concreting that comes with it in the construction industry? We’ve got it covered with Giatec’s SmartRock sensors.  Keep reading to learn more.  Learn More The temperature is dropping, the days start to get shorter, and frost covers the ground. While it may be exciting to imagine a festive winter season, that is not what comes to mind when working in the construction industry. Especially, when you have a project to complete, a schedule to maintain, and a desired concrete temperature and strength to achieve; the pressure is on when dealing with factors like freezing of concrete at an early age, rapid temperature changes, all…

Giatec’s Unique Concrete Knowledge Resources

The Giatec Scientific website is a treasure trove of concrete knowledge, ranging from blogs and case studies to podcasts and videos! Find a few of our exclusive resources below: Learn More Giatec’s Concrete Terminology Search Bar Need a one-stop destination for searching definitions for a plethora of terms related to concrete knowledge? Make sure to check out our concrete terminology search bar! To search for a term related to cement or concrete, just type a word in the search bar. Try rebar, rodding, aggregates, cracking, or…

Essential Guide for World of Concrete!

January 18-20, 2022 | Las Vegas

Visit us at Booth #N1253

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience, analyze site traffic and assist in our marketing efforts. By continuing to use this website, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy Page.