The European Space Agency is working on a project to convert astronaut debris into construction material.
3D printing continues to advance with very good results in the field of construction. For many it is possible that creating a metal structure capable of pouring material such as liquid concrete capable of solidifying in seconds, but when it comes to building 3D houses on the Moon everything is more difficult than it seems. Machinery and material have to be brought, so the European Space Agency is trying to build 3D houses with urine from astronauts.
3D houses built with urine
It is not the first time that we talk about building 3D houses, a procedure that requires a large infrastructure at least. The cabins are not as big as you can imagine, although everything depends on the size of the machine that builds them. But the material is important and has to be resistant to all external and internal conditions that act against it.
It is possible that far from our atmosphere it is not possible to take a great amount of material and it is necessary to cope with what we can. And this is the conclusion the European Space Agency has come to when it talks about using astronaut urine for houses on the Moon.
Yes, it sounds like a ridiculous invention, one of those comedy-worthy, but everything points to it being true. According to the paper published in Sciencedirect, the researchers want to turn all the waste that astronauts generate into a resource. But do not think that the machine builds with excretions as they leave the body but that they receive special treatment.
‘Exotic’ and reusable materials
To start we must take into account the elements that come into play that are urea and water. Other calcium minerals are also found to enhance the curing process of the lunar geopolymer. This rare name corresponds to the construction material that will be taken to the moon, which is just as strong as concrete.
Moon rock is also part of the equation, so all materials are readily available (or at least when nature allows). Marlies Arnhof, initiator and co-author of the study, is optimistic about this research saying that “the hope is that the urine of the astronauts can be used essentially on a future lunar base, with minor adjustments to the water content.”