Talk about colonising the Moon has been going on a lot in recent years. NASA plans to launch a manned mission to the Earth’s satellite in 2024, while tech mogul Elon Musk has said that humanity needs to build a base on it. However, colonising the Moon poses several challenges. One of these is building settlements there.
A new study conducted by a team of international scientists from the European Space Agency says that astronauts could build lunar settlements using their urine. According to the researchers, urea, a component in urine, could be used to produce stable structures. The team published its findings in the Journal of Cleaner Production.
Building settlement on the Moon is very costly. According to a recent survey, transporting even one pound (0.45 kg) into orbit costs around $ 10,000. So NASA, the ESA, and other space agencies are promoting the use of in-situ materials (taken from the place of origin). The Moon has many materials that can be used to construct buildings; however, this process requires vast amounts of chemicals and water that need to be transported to the Earth’s satellite. This is where urea comes in. According to the scientists, mixing it with lunar regolith polymers would produce sturdy structures that could bear heavy weight. Using a 3D printer, they generated cylinders of a material made from urea and lunar polymers.
”We have therefore explored the possibility of utilizing urea as a chemical admixture for lunar geopolymers. The samples containing urea or naphthalene-based superplasticizers could bear heavy weights shortly after mixing, while keeping an almost stable shape. Samples containing urea and naphthalene-based admixtures could be used to build up a structure without any noticeable deformation”, the study reads.
It seems that scientists have come closer to colonising the Moon by solving the issue of building settlements on the lunar surface. Now they need to deal with other problems like the high levels of radiation, temperature fluctuations, and collisions with meteoroids.
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