Scientists at the University of Manchester in the UK have developed a new potato-based concrete called StarCrete, which they say could be used to build structures on Mars. Scientists claim that the new concrete is easy to reproduce on Mars using a simple recipe. It’s a huge change from previous proposals, which have advised using blood and urine to build on Mars.
How does StarCrete, a concrete made from potato starch like StarCrete get to be able to work? According to a paper on the new invention published in the journal Open Engineering, the recipe only requires potato starch, a pinch of salt, and extraterrestrial dust. The concrete can settle to a strength that is much greater than normal concrete, according to scientists.
The idea behind using potato-based concrete like StarCrete comes from starch that was produced as a surplus from food production for astronauts calling the Red Planet home for periods of time. And, because it only requires salt and dust from the planet to complete the recipe, it wouldn’t be overly expensive to move the items needed to the planet for production and building.
Finding a cheaper and more efficient way to build on Mars has been important for several scientists over the past few years, especially with NASA planning a manned mission to Mars within the next 20 years. StarCrete is ready and available to help speed up the process of making a Martian base viable. There are still other issues to be addressed, such as how much bone-loss astronauts feel under low or no gravity.
As I noted above, previous work by this same group relied on astronauts’ blood and urine as binding agents. StarCrete’s concrete is made from potato starch, which makes it less gross. Of course, there’s still some work to prove how scaleable this material is. It could be a key answer to a crucial question about how other planets will develop in the future.
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