Concrete-made facilities mark crucial importance on Earth. But have you thought of a home in space? Yes, astronauts, there in the orbiting lab, are experimenting on cement and concrete. It is a first-ever trial in which they have made cement in space. NASA said the innovation is a part of a project seeking into the impact of zero gravity. Although the new study reveals, concrete made in space could one day assist us in developing habitats in deep space, including Mars and Moon. The development of concrete on the International Space Station has revealed positive outcomes. It can strengthen and grow in space.
Concrete is a blend of rocks, sand, gravel along with cement powder and water. Besides, it is a robust and dependable building material on our planet. Now scientists involved in a new study say it could also offer protection against cosmic rays in the future. Aleksandra Radlinska, study’s principal investigator, said in the upcoming deep space missions, astronauts and tools will require to be safe from excessive temperatures and exposure of harmful rays. She noted the only way of protection is to develop infrastructures on these extra-terrestrial bodies. According to Aleksandra, one notion is forming concrete-like stuff in space. Thus astronauts at the ISS are analyzing the process of solidification of cement in space to better grasp process and likely changes.
NASA has done this research under a project – Microgravity Investigation of Cement Solidification. It has assisted in examining whether hardening cement in microgravity would result in unique microstructures. Even more, the project has offered a groundwork for equating cement samples developed in space with those built on Earth. During the research, scientists have found samples prepared on the ISS reveal considerable alterations in the microstructure of cement. Notably, it had excessive pores as that of the structure on the Earth. Scientists surmise the porous nature could have affected the strength of the material. Still, they have not tested the toughness of space-made cement. Aleksandra said now aim to take further steps for finding binders that will work in space along with different levels of gravity. They have published the research in the journal Frontiers in Materials in April.