Thinking outside the box has always been a strong suit of space exploration. Whether taking a picture of the Earth in a sunbeam or attempting to land a rocket on a floating ship, trying new things has been a continual theme for those interested in learning more about the universe. Now, a team from the University of Manchester has come up with an outside-the-box solution that could help solve the problem of building infrastructure in space – use astronauts themselves as bioreactors to create the building blocks of early colonies.
Concrete is typically used as part of those basic building blocks here on Earth. But its creation requires a vast amount of infrastructure and power consumption that would make it prohibitively expensive for early Martian explorer’s lodgings. Researchers have come up with various potential solutions to this problem, but each still has some disadvantages.
3D printed shape using the new biocomposite.Credit – University of Manchester
The new technique has some disadvantages, not the least of which is the sacrifices it would ask of the astronauts. The new material would literally require their blood, sweat, tears, and sometimes their urine to make a practical building material.
Binding agents are a crucial ...