Human settlements on Mars could be made by mixing urine and Martian soil

Human settlements on Mars are a step closer after scientists created “space bricks” by mixing astronauts’ urine and Martian soil.

The blocks are made by mixing dust with urea, the main compound in urine, and bacteria as well as guar gum and nickel chloride.

It produces a slurry that can be poured into moulds and over a few days the bacteria convert the urea into calcium carbonate crystals.

These crystals, as well as biopolymers which are secreted by the bacteria, act as cement that holds the soil particles together.

The bricks were developed by researchers from the Indian Institute of Science, who now plan to investigate how the low gravity and atmosphere on Mars will affect them.

Dr Aloke Kumar said: “This biological approach towards manufacturing of bricks presents a promising and highly sustainable potential route for in-situ utilisation of structural elements on extra-terrestrial habitats.”

It comes after eccentric billionaire Elon Musk vowed to try and launch a sustainable human settlement on the far away planet.

The Tesla boss admitted that he would need to launch “a thousand ships” to make the colony a reality, and said the price of a ticket would be realistically priced at a whopping $100,000 [£76,000].

He predicts he would need a whopping million colonists or his “self-sustaining Mars city” – although he admits that “only a small percentage of humanity would want to go” to the Red Planet.

But he claims “almost anyone” could work and save up for a sum like that, with the aim to start a colony by 2050.

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Musk added that before the idea could be put into practice, he needs to design a much heavier carrier that can travel to space at a much cheaper cost than conventional rockets.

He said: "Right now you can fly to Mars for $1 trillion. No amount of money could get you a ticket to Mars. So we need to get that like something that is actually possible at all.

"But we don't just want to have with Mars flags and footprints and not come back for a half-century like we did with the Moon. I think we need to be a multi-planet species."

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