According to the Daily Star, the bricks were made by mixing dust with urea (the main compound in urine), bacteria, as well as guar gum and nickel chloride. The resulting slurry can be poured into molds, and after a few days the bacteria convert the urea into calcium carbonate crystals. These crystals, combined with biopolymers secreted by bacteria, form a cement that holds soil particles together.
The bricks were developed by researchers at the Indian Institute of Science, who now plan to study how the low gravity and atmosphere on Mars might affect these bricks. Dr Aloke Kumar said: “This biological method of making bricks offers a promising and highly sustainable potential route to exploiting structural elements in situ in alien habitats.”
Tesla’s president, billionaire Elon Musk, has vowed to build a sustainable human settlement on Mars by 2050.He conceded that “a thousand ships” would need to be launched to make the colony a reality, and said the ticket price would actually be as high as $100,000 [76,000 英鎊]. He predicted that millions of colonists or “self-sufficient Martian cities” would be needed. He claimed that “almost anyone” could save the money by working, but admitted that “only a small percentage of people would be willing to go” to the red planet.
Before he could put the idea into practice, he needed to design a heavier vehicle that could go into space at a much cheaper cost than conventional rockets. “It costs $1 trillion to fly to Mars right now,” he said. “No amount of money can buy a ticket to Mars. So we need a really viable route. But we don’t just want to have a Mars flag and footprint, not something like We came back in half a century like we were on the moon. I think humans need to be a multi-planetary species.”