Scientists at the University of Manchester in the UK have made a potato-based called StarCrete, which could be used to build structures on Mars. It is made from a special combination of space dust, salt and potato starch and is said it can help in transporting heavy materials to the red planet.
According to a study published in the journal Open Engineering, potato starch, space dust and salt can allow the concrete to settle into something that is much more regular concrete. It has a comprehensive strength measuring around 32 Megapascals (MPa).
According to Space.com, the StarCrete mixed with faux-Martian soil clocked in at 72 MPa, while the mixture using simulated lunar regolith came in even stronger, at 91 MPa.
Researchers tested a variety of binding agents before deciding on potato starch. They also tried human blood and urine as binding agents for their extraterrestrial concrete.
The concrete-made blood and urine also produced strengths above traditional mixtures, measuring about 40 MPa. Space.com report says that these bricks' construction, however, would require astronauts repeatedly drain their own bodily fluids, which was viewed as a drawback.
Lead researcher Dr Aled Roberts said, "We started testing blood because we were developing synthetic spider silk as an engineered glue/binder but we accidentally found that a cheap protein from cow's blood worked even better.
"Since it's not practical to take cows into space for their blood, but humans will be there anyway on any crewed mission, we thought we'd explore using the human version of this blood protein (called Human Serum Albumin) - and it worked really well."