Building structures on Mars for future astronauts to live and work in could be much easier than scientists previously believed, according to a new study.
University of California-San Diego scientists were able to create sturdy bricks out of simulated Martian soil without using an adhesive. In fact, making small bricks on Mars was easier than doing so on Earth, researchers wrote in their study.
Experts on Mars colonization think this could be a huge breakthrough.
“The question of whether an environment is habitable or not is only partially a function of the nature of the environment itself,” Dr. Robert Zubrin, who helped design plans for NASA’s manned mission to Mars and wrote the “The Case For Mars,” told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “It is also a function of the ingenuity of the would-be settler.”
Researchers scooped soil into into a rubber case, then compacted it. Iron oxide in the faux Martian soil seemingly caused the bricks to stick together without adhesive, according to the study. The ability to use native soils in construction could greatly simplify a long-term manned mission to Mars.
“Other researchers have shown how we can make fuel, oxygen, food, plastics, and even steel on Mars,” Zubrin said. “These folks have shown a way to make bricks, providing another excellent addition to the Martian settlers’ tool kit. It is work like this that will help make the Red Planet a new home for humanity.”
Zubrin said it’s easier to maintain a human settlement on Mars than it would be to colonize the moon or other celestial bodies.
“Unlike the Moon, Mars has all the raw materials — both the elements of life, including hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, as well as the elements of industry — we need, but it is human inventiveness that transforms these raw materials into useful resources,” Zubrin said.
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