More than 50 years after the first moon landing, humanity is preparing to take the next big step in space exploration. The Moon and eventually Mars are intended to be the first destinations for human habitation. However, new materials are also needed to build living spaces here. In this context, a new material called ‘cosmic concrete’ and called StarCrete was developed.
Could Be Used For Construction On Mars
If it is desired to build habitats on the Moon or Mars, there must be a way to build with the materials found there. Because sending infrastructure materials from the Earth to the Moon or Mars may cause very high costs, and such an option is therefore unlikely. So scientists are testing various materials for the construction of such habitats on Mars. Some time ago a team at the University of Manchester announced that they had developed a new ‘cosmic concrete’ made of extraterrestrial dust.
Twice More Durable than Ordinary Concrete
The material, called StarCrete, is said to be twice as durable as ordinary concrete, eliminating the need to transport expensive construction materials to extraterrestrial locations. For StarCrete, the researchers used simulated Mars dust, potato starch and salt. According to calculations, a 25-pound bag of potatoes contains enough starch to produce about half a ton of StarCrete (213 bricks). It is also stated that the salt needed to strengthen the material can be obtained from magnesium chloride, which is abundant on Mars. Its researchers also state that only a small amount of salt is needed to increase StarCrete’s strength, and even an astronaut’s tears may be enough.
In tests, StarCrete was found to have a strength of 72 Megapascal (MPa). It should be noted that ordinary concrete has a strength of 32 MPa. Also, if Moon dust is used instead of simulated Mars dust, StarCrete’s strength increases to 91 MPa.
In addition, StarCrete can be a more environmentally friendly alternative to conventional concrete used on Earth. Cement and concrete production accounts for about eight percent of global CO2 emissions. Upon completion of this work, the team will continue to experiment to increase the strength of StarCrete for future use. The team has also established an initiative called DeakinBio for this.