Every day the space expedition to Mars is getting closer. But let’s imagine that the first colonists had already reached the Red Planet and decided to settle there. What should they build dwellings from? After all, for the production of concrete and bricks, water is needed, which in the fourth planet from the Sun is in great deficit. Fortunately, the answer is ready to give engineers NASA.
As the journal Scientific Reports, the staff of the American aerospace agency came up with a fairly simple way to create building materials on Mars. At first it was planned to use 3D-printing technology, which NASA has been developing for several years already. It allows the use of local breeds for the production of necessary materials, but the problem is that water is needed for such printing. Fortunately, according to the research, the Martian soil proved to be ideally suited for the production of bricks due to the presence of iron particles in it, and for the creation of brick blocks, the raw materials need only be compressed.
Scientist Brian Chow and his colleagues from the University of California at La Hoya, for the development of new technology, experimented with analogues of Martian soil, made from substances from volcanic eruptions in Hawaii and iron nanoparticles with the addition of some minerals in order to make the composition of artificial soils as close as possible to Martian. During the experiments with heating to high temperatures and high pressure, scientists found that the resulting material was comparable in strength to reinforced concrete and burnt silicate brick.
In the course of further research of the material, experts have found out that it is the iron particles that play a key role in the formation of the structure of the material and even simple compression of the soil with the help of the press makes them connect with each other and form a strong connection. As experts say, if their assumptions are correct, then for Martian construction only a three-dimensional printer will be needed, capable of printing and pressing bricks.