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Astronaut pee could help to build Moon base

Posted on Tuesday, 31 March, 2020 | Comment icon 11 comments

Is human urine really a viable construction material ? Image Credit: NASA/Dennis M. Davidson
The urine of the first lunar settlers could be used as a construction material to help build new structures.
With plans to send humans back to the Moon in full swing (or at least they were before the coronavirus situation), scientists have been working on ways to construct habitable buildings on the lunar surface.

Actually launching construction materials from the Earth all the way to the Moon would be extremely expensive and inefficient, which is why a lot of the focus has been on finding ways to use the Moon's own natural resources - especially water and regolith - wherever possible.

Now researchers have identified another resource that should be available in copious quantities once the first humans arrive on the lunar surface - human urine.

With it, they argue, it should be possible to create a type of plasticiser for construction purposes.
"To make the geopolymer concrete that will be used on the Moon, the idea is to use what is there: regolith (loose material from the Moon's surface) and the water from the ice present in some areas," said Ramon Pamies, a materials scientist from the Polytechnic University of Cartagena.

"But moreover, with this study we have seen that a waste product, such as the urine of the personnel who occupy the Moon bases, could also be used."

"The two main components of this body fluid are water and urea, a molecule that allows the hydrogen bonds to be broken and, therefore, reduces the viscosities of many aqueous mixtures."

The researchers have been conducting tests to determine if urine-infused building materials could actually survive the conditions on the Moon and so far the results look promising, however there is still a long way to go before something like this could be applied in practice.

Source: Science Alert | Comments (11)

Tags: Astronaut, Moon

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #2 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 29 March, 2020, 1:30
That was what came to my mind when I first saw the article headline too.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Meridian O on 29 March, 2020, 4:40
My first thoughts were! What a big P*$$ Take...  
Comment icon #4 Posted by SpaceBumZaphod on 31 March, 2020, 19:11
Well, the Space Station astronauts are recycling urine into drinking water by removing the uria and purifying the water left behind. They've been doing it for years.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Festina on 1 April, 2020, 2:41
Comment icon #6 Posted by Festina on 1 April, 2020, 2:51
Five STAR post OP!
Comment icon #7 Posted by 'Walt' E. Kurtz on 1 April, 2020, 5:20
Oh they can use it like a popsickle too Dont Eat the yellow snow
Comment icon #8 Posted by Sir Smoke aLot on 1 April, 2020, 11:56
First they will need a lot of beer, to start building.
Comment icon #9 Posted by micahc on 1 April, 2020, 12:48
just send an advance party of cats.
Comment icon #10 Posted by BorizBadinov on 1 April, 2020, 14:31
That plasticise effect will be a bonus for 3d printed buildings. 
Comment icon #11 Posted by tmcom on 4 April, 2020, 2:17
I figure that a circle of fire hydrants, and dogs would start the project.

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