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#51 2012-03-15 10:30:43

JoshNH4H
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From: Pullman, WA
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Re: Mars Colony Cement & Concrete

GW- Rail transport is a very interesting topic and we actually have a dedicated thread for it.  I've quoted your post there and responded smile

Edit:  The railroad thread is here

Last edited by JoshNH4H (2012-03-15 12:33:42)


-Josh

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#52 2012-03-15 12:03:46

John Creighton
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Re: Mars Colony Cement & Concrete

GW Johnson wrote:

Not sure what a railroad might look like on Mars,  given that steel will not be generally available for a long time after the first bases are established,  except as an expensive import.

I’m not sure that’s true. If you have a good enough ore isn’t a hot fire enough to separate the metal? Anyway, I agree that it won’t be produced in large quantities early on and probably mostly used to make tools.

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#53 2012-03-15 13:11:15

GW Johnson
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Re: Mars Colony Cement & Concrete

Well,  steelmaking is a little more complicated than just a hot fire.  Although that is exactly how one makes small wrought iron nodules:  in a campfire with decent ore and a positive air blast.

Once made,  these nuggets can be forged together into a useful-sized ingot,  for fashioning various items,  but it's still wrought iron.  Very high in both carbon content (like cast iron) and slag inclusions (which make it easily formable,  hence the name "wrought"). 

To make real steel,  you have to remelt a big pot of this stuff (about 3000 F,  1650 C),  then blow oxygen through the puddle,  to burn out the carbon to just the right trace amount for steel.  The slag floats to the top as a thick layer,  rather like the scum floating on overheated hot chocolate.  Then,  you decant the steel through the bottom,  out from under the slag layer,  and cast it into ingots (usually about half the size of a diesel submarine battery cell).

Cast steel still has lousy properties,  variable all through the ingot.  You have to reheat it to just below melting (about 2800 F, 1540 C),  and forge it,  usually with repeated hammer blows and roller-forming operations,  both measured in multiple tons for a typical ingot.  This operation produces the typical shapes coming from the steel mill as product,  and these shapes have the structural properties we are used to (for mild steel around 36 ksi yield,  80-100 ksi ultimate,  in tensile,  with a Young's modulus near 30,000 ksi,  and a Poisson's ratio near 0.3). 

The alloy steels are made similarly,  they just add things like nickel and vanadium in the initial melt after carbon burnout.  Some of these are heat-treatable after manufacture to very high strengths,  others (like 300-series stainless) are not. 

To make these materials in industrial quantities requires a pretty big plant.  It did in a relative sense,  even 300 years ago,  when railroads were first attempted here on Earth.  Cast irons and wrought irons were usually just not suitable for rails and boilers.  It took real steel,  just like that used in sword- and gun-making,  only just a whopping lot of it.  Ship-building did a lot better by the beginning of the 20th century,  once steel became available in 10,000 ton+ quantities. 

How one would do all this on Mars,  I dunno.  Certainly not in some analog to a campfire,  or even in an analog to a 17th century puddling furnace.  But it certainly needs to be done,  especially once we start planting bases. 

GW


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#54 2012-03-16 14:10:32

JoshNH4H
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Re: Mars Colony Cement & Concrete

GW- We had a thread on Iron and Steel before the crash, but it seems to have been lost.  Since it's such an important topic, I'll make a new thread (By the way, if there's ever a topic that you want to discuss but there isn't a thread for, you can always make your own thread for it).


-Josh

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#55 2012-03-16 16:51:32

louis
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Re: Mars Colony Cement & Concrete

GW Johnson wrote:

Well,  steelmaking is a little more complicated than just a hot fire.  Although that is exactly how one makes small wrought iron nodules:  in a campfire with decent ore and a positive air blast.

Once made,  these nuggets can be forged together into a useful-sized ingot,  for fashioning various items,  but it's still wrought iron.  Very high in both carbon content (like cast iron) and slag inclusions (which make it easily formable,  hence the name "wrought"). 

To make real steel,  you have to remelt a big pot of this stuff (about 3000 F,  1650 C),  then blow oxygen through the puddle,  to burn out the carbon to just the right trace amount for steel.  The slag floats to the top as a thick layer,  rather like the scum floating on overheated hot chocolate.  Then,  you decant the steel through the bottom,  out from under the slag layer,  and cast it into ingots (usually about half the size of a diesel submarine battery cell).

Cast steel still has lousy properties,  variable all through the ingot.  You have to reheat it to just below melting (about 2800 F, 1540 C),  and forge it,  usually with repeated hammer blows and roller-forming operations,  both measured in multiple tons for a typical ingot.  This operation produces the typical shapes coming from the steel mill as product,  and these shapes have the structural properties we are used to (for mild steel around 36 ksi yield,  80-100 ksi ultimate,  in tensile,  with a Young's modulus near 30,000 ksi,  and a Poisson's ratio near 0.3). 

The alloy steels are made similarly,  they just add things like nickel and vanadium in the initial melt after carbon burnout.  Some of these are heat-treatable after manufacture to very high strengths,  others (like 300-series stainless) are not. 

To make these materials in industrial quantities requires a pretty big plant.  It did in a relative sense,  even 300 years ago,  when railroads were first attempted here on Earth.  Cast irons and wrought irons were usually just not suitable for rails and boilers.  It took real steel,  just like that used in sword- and gun-making,  only just a whopping lot of it.  Ship-building did a lot better by the beginning of the 20th century,  once steel became available in 10,000 ton+ quantities. 

How one would do all this on Mars,  I dunno.  Certainly not in some analog to a campfire,  or even in an analog to a 17th century puddling furnace.  But it certainly needs to be done,  especially once we start planting bases. 

GW


A very light rail can still carry useful tonnages in trains of freight cars. A community on Mars is unlikely to exceed 10,000 humans for many decades and will be a very frugal community in its use of materials. Its steel needs will be pretty limited I would say. A very light automated railway would serve the uses of the community if a railway were necessary (doubtful I think - I would prefer land trains using cleared paths over firm ground.

I am sure with investment for ISRU in the hundreds of millions small scale, highly automated furnaces can be developed which will produce high quality steel in appropriate amounts - kgs rather than tonnes I think.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#56 2012-03-18 10:14:27

GW Johnson
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Re: Mars Colony Cement & Concrete

I,  too,  am pretty sure it will start with the equivalent of truck rigs on graded roads.  The problem is one of energy:  each rig must be self-contained.  I suspect they will carry liquid or liquified chemical fuels and oxidizers.  A lot of effort and energy will go into this,  even if the truck rigs are robotic. 

Once steel is available,  you can transport at a lot less effort and energy with an electric railroad powered by a centralized power station.  The only problem is i^2R losses in the steel rails.  You're going to need electric cables as part of the track,  feeding power to the steel rails at intervals. 

That means,  in addition to an iron/steel industry,  you're going to need either an aluminum or a copper industry,  as well.  Or both.  Plus some way to make insulation sheathing or stand-off insulators for the cables.  The plastic we use here will not be suitable in the harsh UV and radiation environment there. 

I would suggest glass for the standoff insulators.  That requires a source of silica. 

My how required infrastructure multiplies!  Multiplies?  Exponentiates. 

GW


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#57 2012-03-18 15:07:45

JoshNH4H
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Re: Mars Colony Cement & Concrete

I would say that we would probably be looking at Aluminium instead of Copper, since Aluminium also has other uses, plus is more common.  I've had a post sitting in Open Office for a few weeks on Aluminium, so I'm hopefully going to finish that soon and then post it.  Glass is going to find a lot of use in the colony anyway, since it will be needed for greenhouses.  I don't think we'll be using electrified rails until somewhat later in the colonization effort, when we have in-situ nuclear power and thus cheap electrical energy, and more importantly very highly traveled train lines that make the cost-benefit for installing the equipment to electrify a railroad work. 

Diversity of materials and components tends to diversify within any one system, but the real trick is to make each material and component do double, triple, or quadruple duty (or more!) so that the system can become self-supporting, with the possible exception of a very small number of low-mass, high complexity parts or materials imported from Earth, and paid for with goods or more likely services done in exchange by Martians.


-Josh

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#58 2012-03-18 15:45:28

GW Johnson
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Re: Mars Colony Cement & Concrete

I'm with you about multiple duty.  I,  too,  would go with aluminum,  unless we just happen to find big copper deposits.  Electrified rail is something we already know works quite well here on Earth.  It used to be quite common,  although diesel-electric has pretty much taken over,  here at home. 

It's all in the prospecting,  something we've not yet programmed any robots to do. 

GW


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#59 2012-03-18 21:33:03

JoshNH4H
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Re: Mars Colony Cement & Concrete

Big copper deposits would be great, since Aluminium production is likely to be very energy intensive as well as complicated.  Even if we don't have a planet-wide map, or one for the specific area where we would sure be nice to have a sense of what resources are available, even in a general sense.  By the way, I would suggest Cast Basalt as an alternative to Glass, just because the materials to make Cast Basalt are cheaper.  Otherwise, I would expect the Cast Basalt and Glass industries would mostly parallel each other.


-Josh

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#60 2012-03-19 15:36:57

Midoshi
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Re: Mars Colony Cement & Concrete

Yes, you can expect copper emplaced as hydrothermal sulfide deposits on Mars. You would find veins in both large crater basins and volcanic regions. It would be accompanied by other "chalophile" elements, mostly lead and zinc, but also antimony, selenium, cadmium, arsenic, silver, gold, and tellurium.

If you want to read more about the potential mineral resources on Mars, I'd recommend the following paper (Mike West was nice enough to host it for those who can't get through paywalls):

Potential martian mineral resources: Mechanisms and terrestrial analogues (West & Clarke 2010)
Planetary and Space Science 58 (2010) 574–582
http://people.physics.anu.edu.au/~web11 … logues.pdf


P.S. I don't think I properly responded to GW's salutation earlier in the thread: Howdydoo and welcome back yourself, sir!

Last edited by Midoshi (2012-03-19 16:31:14)


"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Albert Einstein

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#61 2012-03-20 19:13:59

JoshNH4H
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Re: Mars Colony Cement & Concrete

Midoshi-  That's a really fascinating paper.  Actually, the only important ore which is notably missing, according to that report, is Bauxite.  That is inconvenient and I would really hope that it would be possible to find some kind of usable Aluminium at elevated concentration.  We don't necessarily need 100% bauxite, as long as the Bayer process (e.g., concentrating the Aluminium Oxide by immersion in a highly basic solution) can work.  If we can find an ore that is mostly Iron and Aluminium oxides, we can smelt the Iron out and then get the Aluminium from it, though I don't know if this is an ore that actually exists in the real world.  Copper is nice because it really reduces the energy we need to use on Aluminium production.  For that matter, we could also conceivably use Copper (reinforced with Steel) for heat transfer.  That leaves a need for Aluminium to make mirrors and perhaps as a chemical catalyst in a few applications.  Don't get me wrong, these are absolutely vital for the colony.  But they are extremely low mass, and this is good because it means that the cost to the colony from using simpler but less efficient methods of making Aluminium is not as high.  When they start building rockets, things will be different, but that won't be for a fair amount of time.


-Josh

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#62 2017-01-14 12:22:11

SpaceNut
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Re: Mars Colony Cement & Concrete

Much like Iron making using of low hanging building materail are going to be very important as we stake our worldly claim to stay on Mars.

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#63 2017-07-05 15:10:57

SpaceNut
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Re: Mars Colony Cement & Concrete

Maybe this is possible on mars? Mystery of 2,000-year-old Roman concrete solved by scientists

Concrete used for ancient sea walls was made by mixing lime, seawater, volcanic ash and rock. The combination produces a 'possolanic reaction' – named after the commune of Pozzuoli in Naples.

Researchers have now discovered that elements in the ash react with sea water, which actually strengthens the material. In contrast, waves erode modern concrete.

"Contrary to the principles of modern cement-based concrete, the Romans created a rock-like concrete that thrives in open chemical exchange with seawater,"

Researchers discovered the Roman concrete contained aluminium tobermorite, a rare mineral that adds extra strength. When the Roman concrete was exposed to seawater, the tobermorite crystallised and spread.

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#64 2018-02-19 17:12:44

SpaceNut
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Re: Mars Colony Cement & Concrete

If we find the right minerals as there is clay is there also the means to make concrete for a possible building material?

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#65 2018-02-19 17:40:34

RobertDyck
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Re: Mars Colony Cement & Concrete

The process for making Portland cement

Materials that contain appropriate amounts of calcium compounds, silica, alumina and iron oxide are crushed and screened and placed in a rotating cement kiln. Ingredients used in this process are typically materials such as limestone, sandstone, marl, shale, iron, clay, and fly ash.
portland%20concrete.jpg
The kiln resembles a large horizontal pipe with a diameter of 10 to 15 feet (3 to 4.1 meters) and a length of 300 feet (90 meters) or more. One end is raised slightly. The raw mix is placed in the high end and as the kiln rotates the materials move slowly toward the lower end. Flame jets are at the lower end and all the materials in the kiln are heated to high temperatures that range between 1450 and 1650 Celsius (2700 and 3000 Fahrenheit).

This high heat drives off, or calcines, the chemically combined water and carbon dioxide from the raw materials and forms new compounds (tricalcium silicate, dicalcium silicate, tricalcium aluminate and tetracalcium aluminoferrite). For each ton of material that goes into the feed end of the kiln, two thirds of a ton then comes out the discharge end, called clinker. This clinker is in the form of marble sized pellets.
clinker.jpg
The clinker is very finely ground to produce portland (hydraulic) cement. A small amount of gypsum is added during the grinding process to control the cement's set or rate of hardening.

The key to selecting rock for cement is the right balance of elements. Minerals are broken down by the kiln, so elements are primary. Mars has calcite and dolomite, the two minerals in limestone. Marl is a calcium carbonate mudstone, containing clay. You don't need clay to make cement, what you need is stone with high calcium content. Opportunity fund gypsum at Meridiani Planum, I believe there's gypsum elsewhere. So the trick is to find the right blend of minerals.

I read that nitrogen gas bubbles are required for concrete to set properly. I was concerned because Mars has so little nitrogen. However, when I try to research the exact chemical reaction of this, I find references to hydrogen and nitrogen being released by the chemical reaction of concrete setting. These references warn against bubbles forming voids that will weaken concrete. However, deliberately entraining bubbles in concrete gives it resilience against freeze/thaw cycles.

Science and Technology of Concrete Admixtures

Lea's Chemistry of Cement and Concrete

Last edited by RobertDyck (2018-02-19 18:27:30)

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#66 2018-02-19 18:01:25

SpaceNut
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Re: Mars Colony Cement & Concrete

Hopefully the rovers on mars will be joined soon by others to continue the mineral exploration as that will be the key for colonization and survival.

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#67 2018-02-19 20:10:52

Void
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Re: Mars Colony Cement & Concrete

I used to know a co-worker that we called "Topper".  Any story you told, this person would always top it.

I don't want to be a pest, but I would like to offer options, and I don't want to be a "Topper".

I would feel that Gypsum is great, great idea, but I would also offer Calcium Chloride salts.  Water basins with shellfish which I presume can extract the Calcium into shells, if they are given a feeding method.

So there might be two alternate hopes beyond gypsum deposits.
1) Brine aquifers that could be drilled into local to a settlement.  I presume some Calcium Chloride (And other mineral items) would be present in that most likely toxic to life water.  I see lava tubes as being a relatively benign place to drill from.  Or a diving bell habitat at the bottom of an ice covered body of water.  Or if nature is kind there could just possibly be very salty liquid deposits near the equator.  Not counting on it but looking for it.
2) In the southern hemisphere in particular are salt pans. How you get any presumed Calcium compounds to the location of your settlements is a real problem.  Hyperloop, BFR hopping? 

Still you guys know what is needed.

Interesting reads:
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a … 3315301720
http://themis.asu.edu/news/salt-deposit … -highlands

My suspicion is that the reason that there are not found so many salt pans in the northern hemisphere of Mars, is that they are likely covered by ice deposits such as Arcadia Planetia and Utopia Planetia.

Perhaps there is a chance that under those ice deposits might be brines.  Not likely to host life, but perhaps able to provide humans some minerals.

But of course that is very speculative.

Last edited by Void (2018-02-19 20:25:37)


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

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#68 2018-08-30 17:20:02

SpaceNut
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Re: Mars Colony Cement & Concrete

The original concrete for mars... to which this will work for using in a 3D printer if we ever get there....

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#69 2019-10-25 13:07:50

Grim77b
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Re: Mars Colony Cement & Concrete

Im not knowable on brick work but couldnt the brick be made inside and then taken out , another question I have is  couldnt you use glass and cover over cervass or canyon  to promote plant growth ?

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#70 2019-10-25 13:11:26

Grim77b
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Re: Mars Colony Cement & Concrete

now Im just posting ideas I have like what plant produces the most oxygen and use that also will bamboo grow under mars conditions as its very use full and mankind has been using it for centurys

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#71 2019-10-25 14:22:47

tahanson43206
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Re: Mars Colony Cement & Concrete

Welcome Grim77b ...

Grim77b wrote:

now Im just posting ideas I have like what plant produces the most oxygen and use that also will bamboo grow under mars conditions as its very use full and mankind has been using it for centurys

Since you are newly registered, and have posed a valuable question, I am hoping you will be willing to study previous correspondence in this forum, so you can build on that to create new ideas for the group to consider.

To find out what has been posted, you can use the search tool in the button bar at the top of the main page of the forum.

When you activate Search, put bamboo into the search window, and then (my suggestion here) select Posts instead of the default of "Topic" lower down in the search form.  Then select "Submit"

I hope you will be favorably impressed by the previous correspondence, and will be able to build upon it for your next post.

Best wishes for an interesting and rewarding experience with the NewMars forum.

(th)

Last edited by tahanson43206 (2019-10-25 14:23:22)

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#72 2019-10-25 17:04:06

SpaceNut
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Re: Mars Colony Cement & Concrete

As void indicated Gypsum could be used , clays and other such materials that change state when heated and cooled to form parts when shaped to make walls. Making mesh to reinforce the materials like rebar but not as heavy would also aid in construction strength of the wall.
Grim77b's question of what plants create the most oxygen is a good question but it ends when we need to eat them if its an edible one for man.

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#73 2020-01-03 16:57:25

SpaceNut
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Re: Mars Colony Cement & Concrete

Came across a few posts by Robertdyck here which talked about how to make the different types of cement.

Gypsum has the calcium which is needed.

Gypsum-Rich Dunes in Olympia Undae

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#74 2020-01-12 20:56:07

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
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Re: Mars Colony Cement & Concrete

The ability to make mars our home seems to be there just in much need of energy to mine and process.
Construction technology for Mars?

Of course we can make Inflatable concrete shelter

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#75 2020-01-15 14:29:38

Steve Stewart
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From: Kansas (USA)
Registered: 2019-09-21
Posts: 4

Re: Mars Colony Cement & Concrete

I thought I'd point out there is a paper in the Mars Society's Papers section about making concrete on Mars. The paper is written by Brandon Larson and Dr. David Naish. Brandon Larson did a presentation Concrete on Mars at the 15th Annual Mars Society Convention in 2012. His presentation can be seen on YouTube at the link below. In the paper and presentation, Brandon Larson mentions the problems with portland cement (As many of you have noted), and proposes using magnesium oxychloride cement instead. See the following links for more information:

MarsPapers
http://marspapers.org/#/
Click on Papers (Middle, toward the top)

Link to paper A Concrete For Construction on Mars (PDF Format)
(Category is MarsResources)
http://www.marspapers.org/paper/Larson_2012_pres.pdf

Presentation Concrete on Mars by Brandon Larson at the 15th Annual Mars Society Convention in 2012.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmC3NZoiMzQ

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