Experimental Concrete Made With Human Blood & Urine Could Help Colonize Mars, Scientists Say
19:04 GMT 14.09.2021 (Updated: 19:13 GMT 14.09.2021)
The new material reportedly uses albumin, a protein found in human blood plasma, to bind the concrete together.
A bold new study offers a method of decreasing the cost of construction materials for Moon and Mars colonies, by using substances present in human body fluids and waste to produce concrete, Science Alert reports.
According to the media outlet, a series of experiments involving a combination of simulated regolith with “a protein found in human blood, and a compound found in human urine, sweat, and tears” resulted in the successful fabrication of concrete.
"Scientists have been trying to develop viable technologies to produce concrete-like materials on the surface of Mars, but we never stopped to think that the answer might be inside us all along," said Aled Roberts, materials engineer from the University of Manchester.
The material produced by Roberts’ team, labeled AstroCrete, uses albumin, a protein found in human blood plasma, to bind materials together, and exhibits compressive strength as high as 25 megapascals.
The addition of urea – a compound found in human urine – reportedly bolstered material qualities further, increasing its compressive strength to up to 39.7 megapascals, compared to “strengths between 20 and 32 megapascals found in ordinary concrete here on Earth”, the media outlet adds.
"In essence, human serum albumin produced by astronauts in vivo could be extracted on a semi-continuous basis and combined with Lunar or Martian regolith to 'get stone from blood', to rephrase the proverb," the researchers quipped.
They also added that, while they “believe that human serum albumin extraterrestrial regolith biocomposites could potentially have a significant role in a nascent Martian colony," they also think that it “will eventually be superseded by versatile bioreactors or other technologies as they mature."