Alternative materials such as cosmic concrete have become an area of focus in space exploration and colonisation. The concept of cosmic concrete involves using locally available materials on the Moon or Mars, such as regolith, and combining it with a binding agent to create a strong and lightweight construction material. This idea can reduce the cost and logistical challenges of transporting building materials from Earth. While cosmic concrete is still experimental, it represents an innovative approach to sustainable and cost-effective space construction.

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Built in Mars_©httpskasifiz.comenglishcosmic-concrete-developed-for-life-on-mars

Cosmic concrete is stronger than regular concrete

The University of Manchester scientists have created a new construction material used to build homes on mars made of extra-terrestrial dust, potato starch, and a pinch of salt. Currently, building infrastructure in space is relatively inexpensive and challenging to accomplish. Future space building will require inexpensive, readily available materials for astronauts. The scientist behind the invention created the material twice as strong as ordinary concrete and ideally suited for construction work in extra-terrestrial environments using simulated Martian soil mixed with potato starch and grain of common salt. The study team showed in the journal Open Engineering that regular potato starch might act as a binder when mixed with simulated Mars dust to create a material that resembles concrete. The compressive strength of the cosmic concrete, which was tested, was 72 Megapascals (MPa), more than twice as strong as the strength of regular concrete, which was 32 MPa. It is much more powerful when created from Moondust, measuring over 91 MPa. The research advances earlier work from the same team that utilised the blood and urine of astronauts as a binding agent. At the same time, the resulting material is better than normal concrete, which has a compressive strength of around 40 MPa. The process had the drawback of blood requirement regularly. This option was seen as less feasible than using potato starch when operating in an environment as hostile as space. 

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Lab to Application

“Since we will be producing starch as food for astronauts, it made sense to look at that as an agent rather than human blood. Also, current building technologies still need many years of development and require considerable energy and additional heavy processing equipment, all adding cost and complexity to a mission. Starcrete doesn’t need any of this, so it simplifies the mission and makes it cheaper and more feasible.” Dr.Aled Roberts

The next stage of this project is to translate cosmic concrete from the lab to application. DeakinBio, a start-up firm founded by Dr Roberts and his team, is also looking into methods to make cosmic concrete better to be utilised on Earth.

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Cosmic Concrete_© Aled Roberts

Method of production

The production method of cosmic concrete is still being researched and developed. Still, the general idea involves using locally sourced materials on the Moon or Mars and combining them with a binding agent to create a solid, lightweight construction material. The regolith on the Moon and Mars is primarily composed of rocks, dust, and soil, and it can vary in composition depending on the specific location. The regolith must first be collected and processed to remove any impurities or volatile components to create cosmic concrete. The next step would be to mix the processed regolith with a binding agent, such as a polymer or other chemical compound, to create a paste or slurry. This mixture would then be poured or moulded into the desired shape and left to harden, similar to traditional concrete. The production process of cosmic concrete is still in the experimental stage, and many challenges exist to overcome, such as developing a suitable binding agent that can withstand extreme temperatures and radiation exposure in space. 

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Production  method_©httpskasifiz.comenglishcosmic-concrete-developed-for-life-on-mars

How to construct a 3-BHK house

Dr Aled Roberts and the team calculate that to produce almost half a tonne of cosmic concrete, a sack (25 KG) of dehydrated potatoes (chips) contains enough starch worth of material equivalent to over 213 bricks. For comparison, roughly need 7500 bricks to build a 3-bedroom house. They also determined that magnesium chloride, a common salt obtained from the Martian surface or astronauts’ tears, might be used to strengthen the cosmic concrete.

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Cosmic Concrete Brick_©Aled Roberts

Cosmic Concrete on Earth

Comic concrete, if used on earth, could offer a greener alternative to traditional concrete. Due to the extremely high firing temperatures and energy requirements involved in cement and concrete production, these materials contribute to around 8% of the world’s CO2 emissions. Cosmoc concrete, on the other hand, can be made in an ordinary oven or microwave at average home baking temperatures, therefore reducing energy costs for production.

Moon Dust_©Aled Roberts



He is a young and enthusiastic minded person, and keen to observe and learn new things in every given opportunity.He's interest in nature and architecture made him enter the landscape architecture field. He is open to learning new things and adapting new ways to produce a desired outcome.