10 June 2020
Scientists at the Xinjiang Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry in Urumqi have developed a material from artificial lunar dust that might be strong enough to build a base on the moon, and could potentially be made using volcanic rock on site. The team turned the artificial dust into a high-performance construction material called basalt fibre. Put through testing, they said it achieved a tensile strength of up to 1.4 gigapascals - or 1,400 megapascals. The team used artificial lunar dust mainly sourced from the Changbai Mountain, an active volcano on the Chinese-North Korean border. The dust is about 48 per cent silicon dioxide and 17 per cent aluminium oxide - almost identical to the composition of samples brought back from the Moon by Nasa’s Apollo 14 mission in 1971.
MORE on SCMP ...