Indian scientists find way to build space bricks for lunar habitation
New Delhi, Aug 14: In a significant step forward in space exploration, a team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has developed a sustainable process for making brick-like structures on the moon.
These "space bricks" could eventually be used to assemble structures for habitation on the moon's surface, the researchers suggest.
The process developed by the IISc and ISRO team uses urea - which can be sourced from human urine - and lunar soil as raw materials for construction on the moon's surface. This decreases the overall expenditure considerably.
The process also has a lower carbon footprint because it uses guar gum instead of cement for support. This could also be exploited to make sustainable bricks on Earth.
"It is really exciting because it brings two different fields - biology and mechanical engineering - together," says Aloke Kumar, Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, IISc, one of the authors of two studies recently published in Ceramics International and PLOS One.
Space exploration has grown exponentially in the last century. With Earth's resources dwindling rapidly, scientists have only intensified their efforts to inhabit the moon and possibly other planets.
The cost of sending one pound of material to outer space is about Rs. 7.5 lakh.