Bacteria Will Soon Be Used For Building Materials On Mars
Scientists claim, that every gram delivered to Mars or other planets translates into immense additional costs and energy demands. That’s why instead of shipping construction materials for a theoretical base on Mars engineers at NASA’s Synthetic Biology Initiative are developing microbes capable of creating the ingredients for bricks and mortar. A team headed by Brown graduate Andre Burnier and Lynn Rothschild from the Ames Research Center in Moffett Field in California are using microbes (Sporosarcina pasteurii bacteria) to create substances that can be used for building material on Mars. These are organisms, which feed on urea (a principle ingredient found in human urine) and disgorge ammonium. The bacteria could be sustained by austronaut waste, and the resulting ammonium would make the dusty Mars environment alkaline enough for calcium carbonate binding agents to form, creating a sort of cement. This cement might then be used to hold together the red dusty soil on the ground to form bricks and besdes it might also hold the bricks together like a mortar. Experiments show, that it takes about two weeks to make a brick with the strength of concrete.
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