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Astronaut’s urine could be used to build bases on Moon

Date: 31 March 2020 Tags: Space

Issue

A new study suggests that astronaut’s pee can be used to build some of the first moon bases. Astronaut’s pee could be used as an additive in making concrete for structures to be built on the moon.

 

Background

To develop material for lunar construction, it is significant to reduce the weight of material that has to be brought in from Earth. Also, transporting about 0.45 kg from the Earth to space costs about $10,000, which means that building a complete module on our satellite in this way would be very expensive.

 

Details

  • Urea is the second most abundant component in the urine. It can break hydrogen bonds, and therefore reduces the viscosities of many aqueous mixtures.

  • Scientists conducted several experiments to verify the potential of urine urea as a plasticizer, an additive that can be incorporated into concrete to soften the initial mixture and make it more pliable before it hardens.

  • Using a material developed by ESA, which is similar to moon regolith, together with urea and various plasticizers, the scientists, using a 3D printer, have manufactured various ‘mud’ cylinders and compared the results.

  • The experiments revealed that the samples carrying urea supported heavyweights and remained almost stable in shape. When curing the sample containing urea at 80?°C, the initial setting time became longer.