Stephen Hawkings, the very popular physician recently said that humans might need to leave Earth within 100 years to survive. So any plans to shift on Moon or Mars? Yes? Then this article is perfectly right for you for some concrete information (literally concrete).
Colonizing on distinct planets and moons other than Earth will be the next big mission for humans. With NASA’s plan to gear up towards the red planet by next decade and Elon Musk’s futuristic plan to take us to Mars via SpaceX within next eight to ten years, it is pretty clear that humans want to conquer the planets and moons hands-over-toes. And the preparations have already begun. So we want to build homes on Mars and Moon; what do we need? Cement, yes! But transporting thousands over thousands of kilos of cement there will be practically impractical and even if it is made possible (it cannot be possible!), the Earthy concrete will burn down because of the harsh radiations.
So what do we do? Setting up a cement factory on these celestial bodies is the only viable solution and we will have to find a way to make concrete from the Martian of Lunar soils. Oh, good news, NASA scientists and Stanford University civil engineers have already found a technique that will allow us to make new form of concrete using using Martian or lunar soil and animal proteins may allow future astronauts to build colonies on Mars and the Moon.
The team explained that living organisms use proteins to make tough organs like shells, bones, teeth, nails etc. so they diverted their attention to concrete which could be bound together with a protein from bovine blood. The protein is very cheap as it is a by-product of slaughterhouses and is available in large quantities. This protein become very gooey-gluey when mixed with soil.
The concrete was made by mixing the Martian and Lunar soil with the bovine protein with a vacuum technology as Mars has much lower gravity than Earth which is not very favourable for mixing cement. The first batch of bio-concrete was as strong as the concrete used for sidewalks and patios, which is very good for the first trial.
The scientists also replicated the atmospheric conditions of Mars and incurred bombardment of micrometeorites and guess what! The bio-cement held up firm through the tests which included blasting of high-speed gas particles too. And the scientists are now thinking of creating biological “factories” of organisms that are genetically engineered to produce the protein binder.
This is a ‘concrete’ step closer to colonization on celestial bodies which are far away from our blue-home-planet with extremely bleak conditions. It seems far-fetched idea for now but mark my words and engrave them into ivory with gold ink if you want to, colonization and terraforming on Mars and Moon and other planets will be reality in near future. But until then and always, Earth was, will and always be our home.