Future astronauts likely to use their urine to build Moon bases: Study
New Delhi : The researchers have been trying ways to find out how material available on the Moon can be utilised to a maximum to build bases. While rocks can be used from the planet, urea present in the urine of astronauts can be used to keep them bound.
NASA, China, and the European Space Agency have plans to build moon bases in upcoming years. The European researchers have found out that the astronaut's urine can be used as a high plasticizer for determining the structures that will be built on the Moon.
While the space organizations are planning the colonization of the Moon, there are several challenges which need to be taken care off. Among the big ones are meteorite crush, extreme levels of radiation, significant differences in temperatures, and also logistical issues when transporting the materials on the Moon.
Since transportation to the Moon can cost up to USD 10,000 for 0.45 kgs, the researchers are planning on ways to construct the bases with raw material available on the planet itself and the ones provided by the astronauts themselves - their urine.
According to research conducted by scientists from the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, and Norway, the urea present in the urine can be used as a great plasticizer. In collaboration with ESA, they developed a series of experiments to see if urea can soften the surface of a mixture of materials, making it easier to adjust.
To complete the research they need to understand what material on the Moon can be used for the bases. The regolith is the material found at the surface of the Moon, while the ice can be found only in several areas. Urea is a molecule capable of breaking the hydrogen bonds in material and making it more malleable.
While the idea of using the urea from urine sounds workable the scientists still need to check on how they are going to separate urea from the urine. Researchers are trying to find a way to make the project a success without dividing the urine from the water. Additionally, further research needs to be done on the building material from the Moon.