President Donald Trump and NASA, the American space agency, aim to send humans once again to the Moon by 2024. At the time, they will require a lunar base that will enable the astronauts to reside on the lunar surface. Well, the interesting news is the expeditions may create their base using something easily accessible: maybe their pee. NASA says under its Artemis program, the next man and first woman will land at the Moon’s South Pole. It is a place where massive temperature fluctuations take place. Thus the astronomers need to find out how to sustain and work on the surface of another celestial object.
Unluckily, the astronauts cannot just land with a shelter on the Moon and organize a stay. Instead, they will have to develop a secure habitat to defend themselves from extreme temperature fluctuations, radiations. Notably, the variations range from -9 degrees Fahrenheit to -313 degrees Fahrenheit. Apart from this, astronauts might have to face impacts by meteorites. Another aim of Artemis’ program is for astronauts to discover and use water on the lunar surface. Even more, they will require to seek for other resources at their disposal on or under the surface for long run exploration. All in all, it is extremely expensive to ferry materials to the lunar surface. As per a previous study, it would require around $10,000 to transport one pound of stuff to the Moon.
So using readily available materials on the Moon or those with astronauts is a key. A team of European researchers has carried out a strange experiment. They have mixed urea, the main element present in mammalian urine, with materials like lunar rocks. Through the research, the researchers have had an aim to test whether they can use astronaut urine to build a base on Moon. Notably, the urea performs the role of plasticizer, a material that allows shaping other tougher ingredients into diverse forms. During the test, the researchers have used loose Moonrock.
Ramón Pamies, a professor at the Polytechnic University of Cartagena, Spain, and the study’s author, said to make the geopolymer concrete for the lunar surface, the idea is to use lunar regolith and some water. But the researchers aimed to lessen the amount of water required, as it is essential for life support systems and astronauts. Ramón said with the experiment, they have discovered that a waste product, like the urine of a person residing on a lunar base, could also be useful. During the trial, they have combined the regolith with urea and made cylinders of the mixture using a 3D printer.
They have also performed the same experiment with other plasticizers like polycarboxylate and naphthalene, along with regolith. As a result, researchers have found that sample cylinders made up of urea and naphthalene could beat the heavyweights. Even more, these cylinders can retain a stable shape most of the times. The scientists said additional trials to follow up on these specimens are on the way. So, maybe in the future, astronauts can create lunar bases by using pee.