The possibility of making cement in space is now a building block into our world's future.
Mankind’s pursuit of building habitats on other planets received excellent news this week when astronauts discovered that cement can be mixed and solidified in space.
As ancient of a technology that is cement, researchers just now discovered that it could be recreated in different gravitational circumstances. Astronomy.com reports that researchers sent the basic building blocks of cement — tricalcium silicate, hydrated lime, and distilled water — to the ISS. The ingredients were then mixed in pouches and allowed to harden for 42 days through a process called hydration. The results show that cement mixed in microgravity can indeed solidify much like it does on Earth.
Although it did in fact harden and solidify, there were some different features of this concrete mixture that occurred because of the difference in gravity. The lack of gravity allowed the cement to have a more uniform density because it wouldn’t settle down more. This uniform density actually makes it stronger. But on the negative end, space cement has more air pockets and can be more porous on the microscopic level. This high porosity makes the cement weaker than cement made on Earth, so there’re pros and cons to each side.
This simple experiment is a landmark achievement for our branching out into other worlds. Now that we know we can make cement in different conditions, it could allow us to start building stable structures on places like the Moon or Mars. It also makes transportation of these building materials much easier.
I’m of the opinion that branching out to different planets will absolute be necessary with the issues we have seen with climate change and overpopulation. It should be dire to become proactive about this situation and it looks like scientists and researchers are moving in the right direction.