ISRO develops Space Bricks from Martian Soil
Tags: Science and Technology
Researchers from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have developed a way to make bricks from Martian soil with the help of bacteria and urea.
ISRO and IISc have collaborated to develop a novel scalable technique of manufacturing space bricks using Martian Simulant Soil (MSS).
The researcher first made the slurry by mixing Martian soil with guar gum, a bacterium called Sporosarcina pasteurii, urea and nickel chloride (NiCl2).
This slurry can be poured into moulds of any desired shape, and over a few days the bacteria convert the urea into crystals of calcium carbonate.
These crystals, along with biopolymers secreted by the microbes act as cement holding the soil particles together.
The bacteria seep deep into the pore spaces, using their own proteins to bind the particles together, decreasing porosity and leading to stronger bricks.
These ‘space bricks’ can be used to construct building-like structures on Mars that could facilitate human settlement on the red planet.
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