Science Can Now Mold The Martian Soil Into Bricks


Researchers have been working on a way of making bricks for future habitats out of Martian soil.

One of the primary drawbacks to a crewed mission to Mars is the expense in carrying all of the needed material and equipment. That is why finding a place on Mars with already available water is the key to any future mission.

So is having plenty of building materials for shelters, labs, and workshops. To solve that problem, researchers have been working on a way of making bricks out of Martian soil. Now, it looks like they have found a relatively simple way to do it. And we may have the Red Planet’s very color to thank for it.

Your House on Mars Will Be Built With Martian Soil Bricks

Several techniques have been developed in the past by other groups to make bricks from Mars’s own soil. But each of those methods requires a nuclear-powered kiln or chemicals to restructure the polymers within the soil. This new process developed at the University of California in San Diego, however, only needs a hammer.Using the right amount of pressure appears to be capable of forming basic Martian soil into bricks as strong as reinforced steel concrete. This technique would require no kiln, nor any special chemicals. The pressure created by a ten-pound hammer falling from one one meter was enough to compact these bricks. For their part, these could potentially be cut and shaped to serve almost any purpose.

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“The people who will go to Mars will be incredibly brave,” lead author Yu Qiao said. “They will be pioneers. And I would be honored to be their brick maker.”
Now, the team is moving forward with making larger shapes. The potential is endless, especially if these bricks could be formed into entire domes or shaped to seal off caves. Explorers are hoping to find such structures on Mars.The special binding agent that makes this possible is the iron-oxide so prevalent in the soils on Mars. This also grants the planet its uniquely recognizable color. A study paper was released in the journal Scientific Reports.

Image Source: Wikimedia

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