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What if you could make concrete on Mars out of human blood, sweat, and urine? and recycle the concrete urinewater for drinking?

 
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 80812566
Australia
09/15/2021 01:52 AM
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What if you could make concrete on Mars out of human blood, sweat, and urine? and recycle the concrete urinewater for drinking?
Well now you can! thanks to yore friends the scientists! mmm taste that recycled water. mmm that's nice!


Transporting building materials from Earth to Mars would require extraordinary expenditure – one estimate suggests that it would cost as much as $2m per brick – as well as a considerable increase in the logistical complexity of any mission. The obvious solution would therefore be to create structures from materials already present on the Martian surface, a technique known as in situ resource utilisation (or ISRU).

The authors studied the use of a protein called human serum albumin (HSA), which is present in blood plasma, as a binder to be mixed with regolith to create what the boffins described in the paper as extraterrestrial regolith biocomposites or ERBs. The results were impressive, as the paper states:

Employing a simple fabrication strategy, HSA-based ERBs were produced and displayed compressive strengths as high as 25.0 MPa [mega pascals]. For comparison, standard concrete typically has a compressive strength ranging between 20 and 32 MPa.

Even more helpfully, other human secretions proved to be similarly useful in the process:

The incorporation of urea – which could be extracted from the urine, sweat or tears of astronauts – could further increase the compressive strength by over 300% in some instances, with the best-performing formulation having an average compressive strength of 39.7 MPa.

"The mixture does contain about 70% water, but this water is recoverable," Dr Roberts told The Register. "Essentially the hardening process is driven by the materials drying out, so if you dried them out in such a way where you could re-condense the water then you’d be able to recover it. This is important because water is a precious resource on Mars."

This recovery process is very important and will be one of the drivers to build structures in the first place. Water will undoubtedly be brought from Earth, but it will be in limited supply as it is also extremely heavy and bulky.

Therefore settlers will have to build structures in order to maintain a steady climate in which water can be kept liquid, prevented from evaporating and potentially recovered from construction efforts.

[link to www.theregister.com (secure)]

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