Cosmic Concrete

Going to Mars! First just needa hit 7/11.

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Scientists are starting to think about how humans could live on other planets. We’ll need houses, but what can we build them with? There are no hardware stores there… . We’ll have to science the bleep out of this. 

Enter Aled Roberts and Nigel Scrutton from the University of Manchester. 

Researchers combined simulated Mars dirt with salt and starch to create a concrete called. . . . Starcrete! They tried starches from various staple foods. Think corn, wheat, and rice. The best one? Potato starch! Researchers tested the starcrete’s strength compared to normal concrete when compressed and bent. 

And? Both were equally strong when bent. But StarCrete was TWICE as strong under compression! 

StarCrete is easy to make, and the necessary starch is readily available from our food. We could use it in space! Or on earth as a more sustainable alternative to traditional concrete! 

Shooting for the stars? First stop, a bag of potatah chips!


Roberts, A. D., & Scrutton, N. S. (2023). StarCrete: A starch-based biocomposite for off-world construction. Open Engineering, 13(1).