Hosting human colonies on the Moon might still be a while off but researchers have uncovered an important step on the way to getting there ” human urine. No, this isn’t not an early April Fool’s pisstake, urea might be key to building on the planet.
It looked to using human urine to help make cement given there’s no short abundance of it.
“Since urea is the second most abundant component in urine (after water), it is readily available anywhere there are humans,” the study’s introduction said.
Readily available it is, indeed. The question now is: why not just use regular materials?
It comes down to cost. Transporting 0.45″¯kilograms of materials equals around $US10,000 ($16,000), according to the study, so the goal for many space agencies around the world is to use readily available and light resources. This means constructing any sort of permanent building on planet like the Moon is tough but urine could help make it more possible.
It found the urine “could bear heavy weights shortly after mixing, while keeping an almost stable shape” when used with certain structures. Alas, it wasn’t perfect with the study concluding more research was needed to see how the piss would hold up given the Moon experiences some pretty intense weather conditions Earth does not.
But aside from that, the results are promising, though the researchers admitted they hadn’t exactly figured out how they would extract it yet.
“We have not yet investigated how the urea would be extracted from the urine, as we are assessing whether this would really be necessary, because perhaps its other components could also be used to form the geopolymer concrete,” Anna-Lena KjÃ¸niksen, a researcher in the study, told Spain’s Agencia SINC.
“The actual water in the urine could be used for the mixture, together with that which can be obtained on the Moon, or a combination of both.”
Luckily for the fans out there, research is already underway to prove just how versatile the human by-product is. Stay tuned.
Fireballs are quite rare with only a handful ever being observed. But in the South Australian desert, one of only two fireballs ever observed as falling into the Earth and Moon's gravitational system was spotted. Dr Ellie Sansom from Curtin University told Gizmodo Australia about the unicorn event and why the region is one of the best places in the world to observe them.Read more