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Mars's Soil is itself sufficient to build a city on Red Planet

Our quest for life and exploration on planets other than Earth starts from Mars and practically ends there as well. We might have digital data, supporting life, coming from different galaxies light years away from us, but we don’t have something like Mars-rover there to validate that. So, exploring further what’s in our reach is the way scientists choose to go. Recently, researchers found that the soil of Red Planet can be used to make construction materials surpassing steel-reinforced concrete on every measure of strength and durability.

Result of the experiment before being cut into shape

In a study published in Scientific Reports, researchers from University of California showed details of their successful attempt of constructing an extremely strong brick, using just compression on a Martin soil simulant a.k.a Mars-1a. It’s not the first time this has been done, but earlier methods of doing so required adding polymers especially made for the purpose- with quite complex production technique-and were energy demanding. Yu Qiao, the lead author was trying to minimize the polymer requirement when he found none was required at all.

This surely is a major breakthrough, considering that the discovery can lay the ground for our dreams of becoming an interplanetary species. The biggest problem hindering our steps towards building permanent settlements on Mars is, what to construct it with? Taking it along with us from Earth itself is out of question as it’s going to cost fortunes.

Structure of Mars-1a

Major outcome from the study is even more exciting. Just compression and there is no need of going crazy on that as well. For a very small sample of less than millimeter, just a blow from hammer would be more than sufficient to turn it into a dense rock. Apparently, the high content of iron oxide in Martian soil is at work here being the bonding agent under compression.

Source: Nature

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