And finally… out of this world
Scientists at the University of Manchester have developed ‘cosmic concrete’ from space dust and astronaut blood in order to make construction in space easier.
According to the study, a protein from human blood, combined with a compound from urine, sweat or tears, could glue together simulated moon or Mars soil to produce a material stronger than ordinary concrete, perfectly suited for construction work in extra-terrestrial environments.
The cost of transporting a single brick to Mars has been estimated at about US$2 million, meaning future builders hoping to break ground in space cannot bring their building materials with them, but will have to utilise resources they can obtain on-site for construction and shelter.
This is known as in-situ resource utilisation (or ISRU) and typically focusses on the use of loose rock and Martian soil (known as regolith) and sparse water deposits.
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.