Scientists said Thursday that they have manufactured tiny bricks out of artificial Martian soil, anticipating the day when humans may construct colonies on the Red Planet, reports AFP.
Remarkably, the technique requires only that the red-hued building blocks be compressed in a precise way—no additives or baking required.
“The people who will go to Mars will be incredibly brave, they will be pioneers and I would be honoured to be their brick maker,” said Yu Qiao, a professor at the University of California San Diego and lead author of a study in Scientific Reports.
Structural engineers used a dirt mixture concocted by NASA that mimics Martian soil to make hundreds of 3 millimetre-thick (0.1 inch), disc-shaped bricks.
By accident, they had discovered that high-pressure compression hardened the artificial soil into rock-solid structures stronger than steel-reinforced concrete.
Once the stuff of science fiction, human habitation of Mars has captured the collective imagination, and inspired governments and billionaires to explore the feasibility of making the Red Planet a home away from home.