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European Space Agency Wants To Make Moon Bases Out Of Astronaut Pee

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 09 May 2020 15:50
SpaceSpacePexels/ESA

The European Space Agency (ESA) want to make moon bases out of astronaut pee.

According to the ESA’s research, pee works well with lunar soil to create a concrete like substance that’ll make building on the planet possible.

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Why pee, you ask? Well, along with water, urea is a large component of pee (urine, if you’re being proper) and apparently it can break hydrogen bonds and reduce the viscosities of fluid mixtures curing.

As well as this, urea contains calcium to help the concrete’s curing process.

MoonMoonPA Images

This comes as huge news as, without being able to build on the moon, it would be difficult for humans to establish any kind of presence on the lunar surface.

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While astronauts could take some water with them to create the concrete, known as geopolymer concrete, transporting it over has shown to be extremely expensive.

It costs the likes of NASA and ESA $10,000 per pound of material transported to the moon, CNN reports.

With your average American male weighing around 200lb, you can understand why the space stations would want to save money where they can.

RocketshipRocketshipPexels
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Speaking about the exciting new development, Marlies Arnhof, initiator and co-author of the study from the ESA’s Advanced Concepts Team, said: 

The science community is particularly impressed by the high strength of this new recipe compared to other materials, but also attracted by the fact that we could use what’s already on the Moon.

Urea is cheap and readily available, but also helps making strong construction material for a Moon base.

The hope is that astronaut urine could be essentially used as it is on a future lunar base, with minor adjustments to the water content. This is very practical, and avoids the need to further complicate the sophisticated water recycling systems in space.

Anyone else feel a bit uncomfortable about there being a ‘recipe’ that contains wee?

Adding to the slight discomfort of it is how the concrete actually looks…

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Lunar concreteLunar concreteESA

Gross, right?

Moving on from the poop-like substance, as well as it being cheap and readily available, it has been found to maintain its structural integrity even as the moon freezes.

Most substances wouldn’t be as practical in the moon’s ever-changing temperatures.

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MoonMoonPexels

NASA is aiming to get humans on the moon once again by 2024. The mission was originally set to be completed by 2028, but the Trump Administration moved it forward four years.

With this in mind and geopolymer concrete still being developed, astronauts won’t be building these bases any time soon, but researchers hope it will be achievable in the not-so-distant future.

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: News, Astronauts, Moon, NASA, Science, Space

Credits

European Space Agency and 1 other
  1. European Space Agency

    Astronaut urine for building a Moon base

  2. CNN

    Moon bases could be built using astronaut urine