Blood-curdling recipe created for space concrete
Quirky news of the day.
Scientists from the University of Manchester have developed a concrete-like material made of extra-terrestrial dust along with the blood, sweat and tears of astronauts.
In their study, published in Materials Today Bio, they say that 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$2m, meaning future Martian colonists cannot bring their building materials with them, but will have to use 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.
However, the Manchester team said that there is one overlooked resource that will, by definition, also be available on any crewed mission to the Red Planet: the crew themselves.