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The building bricks of life exist on Mars

By John von Radowitz

Astronaut brickies may be needed to set up the first bases on Mars.

The soil of the Red Planet can easily be turned into bricks stronger than steel-reinforced concrete, scientists have discovered. No kiln or special additives are required.

The material is squeezed together under pressure to form sturdy blocks ideal for building shelters on the planet's surface.

In experiments researchers found tiny particles of iron oxide responsible for the reddish hue of Martian soil acts as a very convenient binding agent.

US lead scientist Professor Yu Qiao, from the University of California at San Diego, said: "The people who will go to Mars will be incredibly brave. They will be pioneers. And I would be honoured to be their brick maker."

The discovery is well timed, after the US Congress adopted a Bill signed by President Donald Trump directing Nasa to aim for a manned mission to Mars in 2033.

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