Brick By Brick, Building Martian Bases
Eugene Aquino, Richard Kiefer, and Robert Orwoll are working out ways to turn Martian regolith (aka dirt) into bricks that could be used as building materials and radiation shields.
People have proposed using planetary resources like ice before, but regolith has a lot to recommend it. It is plentiful, for one, and easy to work with. Kiefer worked on a NASA experiment with lunar regolith 16 years ago. “That proved that you could take regolith and a polymeric material and make something that you could turn into a habitat—using only a microwave oven,” he says.
The basics for the current experiment are equally simple: Mix powdered polymer with regolith, dump it into a silicon mold, and apply heat. Just how much heat, and how it’s applied, remains proprietary. Of course, the scientists don’t have any Martian regolith, so they’re using volcanic ash from Hawai’i. Orwoll calls it “a close cousin” with similar properties, like lots of silicate and iron.
Science fiction fans have early exposure to this idea. In fact, in his 1951 novel The Moon is Hell, John W. Campbell wrote about marooned members of the second lunar expedition surviving by manufacturing solar cells using lunar materials.
(John W. Campbell [1931 Wonder Stories])
See also this related article on a Lunar Contour Crafting - 'Print' A Moonbase and this article on how moon dust can be used to fabricate solar power panels.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/13/2016)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
Comercial Airlock 'Bishop' Now On ISS
'They put the bones and the glass can that had contained the soup into the double-doored partition or vestibule...' - John Jacob Astor IV, 1894.
Space Station Could Use Some Martian Sawgrass
'What better purifying machine is there than a plot of grass?' - George O. Smith, 1942.
Arches Of Chaos: Jovian Space Manifolds Create A Celestial Autobahn
'Commute ships roared on all sides, as Ed Morris made his way wearliy home to Earth at the end of a long hard day at the office.' Philip K. Dick,
ESA Space Claw To Grab Space Junk
Now, where have I seen this idea before?
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Las Vegas Tunnels To Have Autonomous Teslas
'...just a steady velvety whirr as the taxi sped along.'
TCL CSOT 17-Inch Printed OLED Scrolling Display
'..a wide sheet of clear material suddenly flared with light and swirling colour.'
Reachy Humanoid VR Teleoperation App
"I went to the control room where the three other men were manipulating their mechanical men...'
Unitree A1 Robot ala Black Mirror and Snow Crash
'The legs are long, curled way up to deliver power...'
DALL-E Makes Creative Images From Text
Okay, sf fans. If you could have some art created from a science fiction sentence, what sentence would you pick?
BladeBUG Robots Clean Massive Wind Turbine Blades
'There were the cleaners, with large padded feet, who were apparently polishing their way the whole length...'
Looms To Manually Weave Lunar Rover Wheels
It's fascinating to me how the Apollo program forced people to think outside their usual boxes.
IceBot Antarctic (Planetary?) Robotic Explorers Made Of Ice
'Some will combine in place to form more complicated structures, like excavators or centipedes.'
Glad 2020 Is Over
Maybe you missed one of these?
PEDOT Polymer Could Enhance Brain-Machine Interfaces
'the hair-fine wire going deep into Owen's brain, down into the pleasure center.'
Study: Robots Encourage Humans To Take Risks
Not exactly Three Laws compliant.
Kinetic Buildings And Psychotropic Houses
'There was a dim whirring, and the spheres tipped and began to rotate...'
Jupe Urban Escape Pods Have Tesla, SpaceX Roots
'The houses are prefabricated units... and they sell at the flat rate of five hundred dollars a room — set up.'
Best Robot Dance Video Of 2020
'I can Mashed Potato... I can do the Twist.'
Vertical Farm In Singapore's Output Is 1.5 Tons Per Day
'A towering eighty-story structure like the office "In-and-Out" baskets stacked up to the sky.'
3D Printed 'Blisk' Manufactured In Orbit
'It can be mass-produced only in the orbiting factories...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories