Moon Bricks…Don’t Ask How They Are Made

The ESA (European Space Agency) is exploring building moon bases using geopolymer concrete. That sounds pretty smart and really exotic. Let me rephrase that sentence. ESA is exploring building a hovel on the moon using recycled astronaut pee and moon dust. Still smart and exotic? Yea – it is pretty cool, a tad gross, but cool. Lets find out more about how that would work.

The Fun Part

June 4, 2041
Serenity Lane, Tranquility Crater, Luna 87824

Our first house Greg – this is so awesome! Who would have thought our first house would be on the moon!

It is pretty awesome dear. I had a hell of a time the last few months building this up and getting it ready for you. I felt like one of those old timy settlers on the prairie waiting for you to show up in your covered wagon.

Ha! Well sorry to disappoint you. I left my bonnet and apron back on Earth. Looks like you are going to have to just be happy with my helmet and this sweet onsie

Hehehe, I’m just happy you are here at all. After our last talk about how I was making our house I didn’t think you would still be ok with living in it.

Yea, it is pretty f’ing gross. Was it just yours? Wait…no I don’t want to know…just tell me there is at least wallpaper between the pee and my dishes. <shudder> I guess living like this isn’t so far off from cowboys burning cow pies for warmth.

Uhh…I suppose not…but here we use solar power for heat…so no need to waste poo on heating…we have better uses for it

Oh stop Greg that is just nasty…lets get me unpacked…I walked in here hungry…but I think I’ll be good not eating for a while longer…

The Real Deal

Ok, so the general concept of building shelter is to keep us squishy meat sacks from being damaged by the ‘elements’. Here on earth we use wood, metal, glass, and concrete as the general building blocks of said shelters. Since I feel fairly confident in you all understanding that wood is not really an option on the moon, lets look at how to make shelter from the others and what would be the issue with doing that on the moon.



  1. A metal
  2. Something to hold metal together


  1. Remove metal from rock holding it
  2. Melt metal into something you can build with (stick, flat thingy, block…etc)
  3. Assemble it into cool shape using ingredient #2
  4. Be totally safe in shelter

The Hard Part

  1. Getting the ingredients to/on the moon
    1. Ok turns out that isn’t that big of an issue because there is a fair bit of metal on the moon that could be mined
  2. Removing metal from rock
    1. Yea – so this step is going to need a fair bit of equipment, and to be honest I don’t know enough about steel smelting to know exactly how much. Maybe it is too much, maybe not
  3. So the safe part. Turns out metal is generally not the best material for keeping really bad radiation off our bodies. This is why space ships often have other materials wrapping them, and why a lot of work is going into figuring out active shielding concepts for deep space exploration.

So metal would probably work…but not be great


Yea…you really want to live in a glass house in the vacuum of space? Ok ok, lets look.


  1. Liquid sand
  2. That’s about it


  1. Heat sand until it is a liquid
  2. Let it cool

The Hard Part

  1. Ok so actually making this on the moon is probably pretty easy, but the end product is going to let visible light through, and if visible light can get through that is a better than even chance that bad radiation can get through too. Sooo yea…you are going to be cooked in your glass house.



  1. Cement
  2. Sand
  3. Rock
  4. Water


  1. Mix one part cement with two parts sand and three parts gravel rock
  2. Take dry mix and add water…not too much…add just the right amount. You’ll know when it is enough…or you wont…


The Hard Part

  1. Getting cement to the moon
    1. Turns out that can be solved by not using cement…
      1. But you said cement is one of the ingredients – isn’t removing it going to fuck things up?
        1. Yea – so cement is just the sticky part that holds the rest of the ingredients of concrete together. Stop asking so many questions
    2. ….ok back to the not using cement. Since cement is mainly the sticky shit that holds the concrete together, in theory you could use other sticky shit. This is where the urine or rather urea…a byproduct of urine comes in. A number of different experiments conducted in the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe showed urea could be added to lunar regolith analogues to create a perty strong ‘geopolymer’. See image below for a 3D printed sample of urea-enriched geopolymers


I get your objection…how can we trust something out of the Netherlands? Those guys gave us the Tulip Mania of 1637. And that is a fair point. But I say we give them a second chance. Even if their product looks like they are 3D printing shit log cabins…literally.

Even assuming you are willing to live in said shit house. I haven’t addressed the concern about this shelter know sheltering you from radiation and stuff.

Don’t worry. ESA said they are going to be looking at this in phase 2. I shit you not…the ESA’s press release said “One of the hot topics the team wants to tackle next is…” uh huh…I assume this sounds less funny to middle school dudes when it is in the original French/German/Dutch or whatever.

The End Parts

So today we learned that

  1. The Netherlands is still conducting science research
  2. Said research is pissy
  3. There is no wood on the moon
  4. Your first moon house may be built with the pee of the guy before you.

Next time we will talk about how to convert your poo to gold…not really….but seems appropriate.


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