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Scientists Develop Martian Concrete to Build Structures on Mars

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A team of scientists has developed a form of "Martian concrete" that could be used to build architectural structures on the surface of the Red Planet. Lin Wan, Roman Wendner and Gianluca Cusatis from Northwestern University, USA, have formulated a construction material that combines Martian soil with molten sulphur.

The construction material is produced without water, which is scarce on the Red Planet. Mars is a very cold, harsh planet and endures very low temperatures. Average temperatures hover around minus 60 degrees Celcius, and at night, these plummet to minus 100 degrees Celcius.

globe
Image by Clouds AO
 

"Due to the dry environment on Mars, sulphur concrete is a superior choice for building a human village on the Red Planet," according to the Northwestern team’s report.

“The best mix for producing Martian concrete is 50 per cent sulphur and 50 per cent Martian soil with a maximum aggregate size of one millimetre,” the team added.

The scientists claim this construction material could be used to build an entire village community on Mars.

mars
Image by Clouds AO
 

The development of this new material is well timed considering that space travel company SpaceX plans to start flying unmanned spacecraft to Mars from 2018. These missions are timed to occur every two years when Earth and the Red Planet are closest in orbit. The purpose will be to gather valuable data about descending and landing on Mars for human missions in the future.

The CEO of SpaceX happens to be technology entrepreneur Elon Musk, who is really excited about getting the first humans to land on Mars by 2025. However, Musk has warned that pioneering a new planet won't be much fun.

"It's dangerous and probably people will die – and they'll know that. And then they'll pave the way, and ultimately it will be very safe to go to Mars, and it will be very comfortable. But that will be many years in the future," Musk recently told American news publication, The Washington Post.

Yet no matter how far in the future life on the Red Planet may be, its pioneering settlers will need planet-appropriate habitations. Which makes Wan, Wendner and Cusatis visionaries indeed…

mars ice
Image by Clouds AO
 

References:

(http://www.dezeen.com/2016/01/07/scientists-develop-martian-concrete-for-building-architecture-in-outer-space/)

(http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/elon-musk-people-will-die-first-spacex-missions-mars-1565387)

A very special thanks to Clouds AO for the use of images. The "Mars Ice House" was awarded first place in the NASA 3D Printed Habitat Challenge.

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