At present, all the space firms and agencies are working on sending humans to the Moon and Mars. The researchers have recently been able to create concrete in space with the hope that it could one day help humans build a shelter for themselves. The recent data obtained from the International Space Station has shown that the astronauts were able to make cement in microgravity and it was found to harden as well after a certain period of time. The concrete was made using sand, rocks, gravel, and a combination of water & cement powder. This strong and dependable building material can help build structures in space just like it does on the Blue Planet. In the future, the astronauts can be saved from cosmic radiation or other dangers using the newly created cement.
According to Penn State engineers, the extraterrestrial environment havocs can be well tackled using the concrete-like material in space. The space equipment can also be protected from fluctuating temperatures and radiation. The concrete could also be made using Moon dust and thus, reducing the dependency on the materials carried from Earth. The astronomers found that mixing water and tricalcium silicate, which is found in commercial cement, can help make cement even in microgravity. The comparison of the cement structures made in space and Earth showed a huge difference in microstructures and the porosity. The space-made cement’s strength and durability are currently being investigated by the researchers. The researchers also plan on building new binders based on particular space regions and variable gravity levels in zero gravity and some gravity as well.
Just like the space-made cement, a California-based Made In Space company has made ZBLAN in orbit at 4 separate timings with the help of a microwave-size machine that was programmed to travel from Earth to the International Space Station (ISS) on SpaceX Dragon cargo capsules. By next year, the company will have larger facilities built at the space station. The major focus is to help make a robust off-Earth economy so as to enable humanity to extend its footprint out into the Solar System.