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Astronaut pee might be the missing ingredient for building moon bases

There’s always been talk, even jokingly, about getting humans to live on the moon. We’ve just come one step closer and the new ingredient probably isn’t what you’d expect.

It seems like only yesterday we found out about Uranus’ gas leak, and now we have another humorous discovery to unwrap.

Astronaut pee

Photo – NASA (Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin)

It turns out that astronaut pee and the urea it contains might be the secret ingredient we need for building future bases on the moon.

Taking building materials to space is obviously expensive and difficult due to the limited confines of space transportation. Because of this, space agencies have been researching materials that you can find on-site (aka in space).

Well, Astronaut pee might just might the answer. Turns out the urea in urine would help plasticise building material, making structures less fragile and giving them increased flexibility.

Materials scientist from the Polytechnic University of Cartagena, Ramon Pamies explains it best:

“To make the geopolymer concrete that will be used on the moon, the idea is to use what is there: regolith (loose material on the surface of the moon) and the water from the ice present in some areas.”

Pamies further explains that urea is a molecule that “allows the hydrogen bonds to be broken and, therefore, reduces the viscosities of many aqueous mixtures.”

Further research is now being conducted to test the effectiveness of urea as a plasticiser. Sometimes, answers really are found in the strangest of places.

On a side note, apparently there’s already an entire tank of pee up there from the Apollo astronauts back in the late ’60s and early ’70s. Nice.

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April 2, 2020