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Space Bricks

Context:

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.

Relevance:

GS III- Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Space Bricks
  2. Significance

About Space Bricks

  • The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have cooperated to create a revolutionary scalable technology for making space bricks using Martian Simulant Soil (MSS).
  • The slurry was initially created by mixing Martian soil with guar gum, Sporosarcina pasteurii bacteria, urea, and nickel chloride (NiCl2).
  • This slurry can be put into any form mould, and the bacteria will convert the urea into calcium carbonate crystals over the course of a few days.
  • These crystals, in combination with biopolymers generated by bacteria, operate as a cement that holds soil particles together.
  • This approach makes the bricks less porous, which was an issue with previous Martian brick-making procedures.
  • The bacteria seep deep into the pore spaces, binding the particles together with their own proteins, reducing porosity and resulting in stronger bricks.
Significance

The team had previously used a similar process to make bricks from lunar soil. These’space bricks’ can be used to build building-like structures on Mars, allowing humans to settle there more easily.

-Source: The Hindu

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September 2022
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