NASA says they're planning a manned mission to Mars by 2030, but the work on engineering a long-term solution for humans to live on the red planet just took a giant leap forward.
A team of researchers from UC San Diego has made a surprising discovery about their simulated Martian soil. Turns out that when the dirt on Mars (which has nearly the same physical and chemical properties as dirt on Earth) is compressed under high pressure, it creates blocks stronger than steel-reinforced concrete!
Not bad, science!
The advantage of this means engineering teams could build complex structures on Mars (like a LEGO set where you can make whatever piece you need) without the need and expense of shipping massive amounts of material from Earth.
It's actually the red in the soil itself (that is, the iron oxide) that makes the Martian soil work so well under pressure. Under extreme pressures, iron oxide cracks and shears, creating surfaces that are angular and flat. When these surfaces are smashed together with enough force, the iron oxide form strong bonds that do not need anything else to keep it together.
With that in mind, isn't it time to follow the lead of every science-fiction franchise ever and begin colonizing Mars? It's either that, or Elon Musk forgets about Mars as he tunnels his way through L.A. trying to avoid traffic (that is, unless he takes a wrong turn at Albuquerque).