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This is how we should build on Mars, scientists say

September 16, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

If we make it to Mars, we're not going to be able to bring everything humankind needs to stay for an extended time or even construct colonies on the red planet. New research has come up with a game plan.

In order to build shelters and manufacture tools, astronauts may only need to bring one key ingredient -- with minerals in the lifeless Martian soil able to do the rest, a new study published Wednesday said.

Chitin could be combined with surface soil by early Martian settlers to manufacture a new material without special equipment and using little energy, researchers from the Singapore University of Technology and Design said.

The chitin for use on Mars, the study said, could come from insects.

The authors said that the extraction of chitin would be a byproduct of the crew's food supply and consumption.

To test their theory, the scientists combined chitosan, an organic polymer made from shrimp, and a mineral designed to mimic the properties of Martian soil.

The water, the study said, could be obtained from subsurface ice on Mars.

Very light rock," said Javier Fernandez, an assistant professor at SUTD and coauthor of the study that published in the journal PLOS One.

The researchers then used the material to construct a wrench and a model of a Martian habitat, which they said demonstrated the material could enable the rapid manufacturing of objects such as basic tools and rigid shelters.

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