So, you've just gotten a great new job that requires you to move halfway across the country -- say, to Cincinnati. You make all your arrangements, pack your things up in a moving truck and make your way toward your new home. You can't take your house with you, obviously, so the first thing you have to do is arrange for a new place to live. Lots of people have suffered through similar scenarios, and lived to tell the tale.
But imagine if your new base of operations were on the moon. No houses there -- yet -- plus, you're getting charged an exorbitant amount for every single cubic centimeter of stuff you want to bring along. You can't bring along your grandmother's credenza, of course, but you really can't bring a house with you -- or even the materials to build one!
It's always been assumed that one of the first steps in the exploration of space would be to build structures, like the International Space Station and a future moon base, to safely shelter us once we get there. But in order to build on the moon, we have to work with what's there.
When you build or remodel a house on Earth, a major ingredient is concrete -- a mixture of crushed-up rocks, sticky soil or clay used to cement the mixture, and a solvent (usually water) to bind it all together. In this article, we'll look at the history and recipe for the lunar equivalent: lunarcrete.