By: Lorena Bueno, Guest Blogger
Red Planet Pen (RPP) Blog, Issue #37
Crack open any mid-level science novel from the last 70 years and you’ll find, among fanciful descriptions of grand canals and sand-scattering weather systems, varied descriptions of what’s underfoot (or boot): Martian sand. Regolith, powder, basalt rock, even clay, hint at a time when Mars had enough water and geologic activity to create clay.
As we plan our first trips to Mars on Earth with the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) of the Mars Society, the next few missions on Mars will give us more data on the clay deposits of our near neighbor. With this data we can add clay-based structures to our plans of more permanent structures.
What can we do with clay?
If the clay deposits are significant enough, this ancient building material may give us one of the first resources we can use to help protect and define the boundaries of our research and colonization outposts. While our first clay bricks may be as handmade as those first made on Earth, we’ll bring with us approximately 9,000 years of advanced knowledge and technology. We’d start by studying how clay behaves in the environment of ...