Using Concrete in Outer Space
Lately, scientists have been re-opening the doors to space travel and exploration, but this time with more long-term objectives in mind. The International Space Station is just the beginning, as scientists and researchers world-wide seek ways to build facilities on the moon and Mars that can house and protect people as well as the research they conduct. So far, concrete seems to be the material of choice when it comes to building any type of structure in space. But there is still a lot of research to be done. The experts at Permacast Precast Concrete Fencing & Walls are keeping a close eye on this process. We see the opportunities and possibilities that could be coming in the future and we’re excited to be part of expanding our products…all the way to the moon!
How Concrete Could Be Used in Space
Concrete is a great starting place for building material in space for a few reasons. The materials used to mix concrete are readily available on earth and easily transported to space. The mixing process, while complex, is not impossible to achieve in space, though according to this CNN report, researchers from the Pennsylvania State University have found the concrete mixed in space to be more porous than that mixed on Earth. They also do not yet know how gravity affects the mixing and setting process. The inclusion of water in the aggregate mix is of specific concern, while the use of moon dust, known as regolith, could be used in place of common rocks or sand found on Earth. However, if this process proves successful and sustainable, scientists, researchers and astronauts might find themselves living on the moon or Mars for extended periods of time.
Why Choose Concrete over Other Materials
While there might be plenty of options for building materials here on Earth, it’s important to think about transporting materials into space, as well as the possible changes that could take place to said materials once in place. Varying gravitational forces, magnetism and extreme temperatures all become factors in such a different environment. So far, concrete is an obvious choice with the fewest potential issues to work through. If concrete becomes a true possibility in the near future, we can expect to see much collaboration between NASA and building experts as they explore what it will take to house and sustain life on these new frontiers.
How Precast Concrete Fits In
While it may seem obvious to those of use in the business, we envision precast concrete becoming a necessity, rather than just an option, for the building of space stations, residential housing and research centers on Mars and the earth’s moon. The accuracy that can be achieved in a precast concrete factory or facility is beyond necessary in space. There will be very little room for trial and error, weather postponements or unnecessary waste. All of these issues are already resolved when using precast concrete, so it only makes sense that they will become the commodity of choice when utilizing concrete materials in space.
Just when you thought something as standard as concrete couldn’t remain relevant, NASA has brought our industry to the forefront. Everyone at Permacast Precast Concrete Fencing & Walls is so excited at the possibilities ahead and we look forward to participating in whatever capacity awaits us as we move our skills, products and expertise into an unknown realm. Bring us your thoughts, concerns and questions about concrete in space at one of our Lunch & Learn sessions and find out more about this amazing opportunity. We’re excited and we know you are, too!