Conscious Choice cover

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Make concrete on Mars using human blood?

What could possibly go wrong? Scientists at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom have developed a new formulation that can use material known to exist on Mars, combined with the addition of astronaut blood, to produce useful concrete.

Working with simulated lunar and Martian soils, the team experimented with using human blood and waste products as binding material, and turned up some interesting results.

The work showed that a common protein in the blood called serum albumin could be used as a binder to produce a concrete-like material with compressive strength comparable to ordinary concrete. In investigating the mechanisms at play, the team found the blood proteins “curdle” to form “beta sheets” that extend outward to hold the material together.

Even more interestingly, the team found that urea, a waste product found in urine, sweat and tears, could be incorporated to increase this compressive strength by more than 300 percent. That is to say, the key to cosmic concrete stronger than what we have here on Earth might be found in our blood, sweat and tears (and urine).

This work was inspired by ancient building techniques, which often used pig blood in concrete for similar reasons.

Though a lot of this makes sense, especially the utilization of waste products like urine, the idea that future colonies will tap the blood of their citizens for construction purposes raises so many moral questions I can’t list them all here.

For example, let me throw out one possibility should no one think about this too much on Mars. Why not use this need for blood as a method of criminal punishment? Do something the ruling powers think is wrong and we will suck your blood from you to build the colony!

The moral consequences of our actions require long careful thought. Unfortunately, long careful thought simply no longer exists among today’s intellectual and political classes. Instead, they make almost all their decisions off the cuff, based on what “feels” right to them. You merely have to watch the many interviews of Dr. Anthony Fauci in the past year to see what I mean. Nothing he says about masks or mandates is really based on new research or data. He merely throws out an opinion that feels right, at the moment. Thus, he contradicts himself repeatedly, and most of his advice has been worse than useless, resulting in so many unexpected negative consequences they almost cannot be counted.

Try to imagine the horrors that could take place in a colony on Mars, where resources are in short supply, should construction require the use of human blood and the leadership there approaches its problems with the same cavalier attitude toward moral consequences? I can, and it chills my own blood to the core (no pun intended).

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16 comments

  • Kyle

    What if they send pigs to Mars and use pigs blood instead. Launch them as small piglets to save on weight. Plus you can have… PIGS… IN… SPACE!!!

  • Calvin Dodge

    Larry Niven’s “Organlegger” was not intended as a how-to guide.

  • William Frumkin

    Chicken eggs are mostly albumin. Raise chickens for eggs, meat, companionship and concrete. Just like here on earth.

  • Mitch S.

    Was this research funded by a Count from Romania?

  • Edward

    I like Kyle’s solution for a different reason. Think about bacon as a staple food on Mars. It could be used for recruiting.

  • Greg

    I was appalled at the use of blood until I read further that it’s the blood protein albumin that is the binding agent sought. Albumin is the major blood protein in plasma, and as such is easily obtained by plasmapheresis. Plasma donor centers abound, and commonly allow twice weekly “donations” of plasma. Urea, from urine, is of course, even easier to obtain.

  • Tom Billings

    Urea can be synthesized from materials all round Mars. Its Formula is CO(NH2)2.

    Hydrogen from Water ice.

    CO from the CO2 in the atmosphere, electrolyzed.

    Nitrogen from its 2 percent concentration in the atmosphere.

    As noted by Greg, Albumin is an available blood protein that can be extracted from blood, and the blood cells put back in the body. Once we approach a million people on Mars it should be available from humans and/or their food animals, and may be producible artificially if we can clone livers of mammalian animals to produce it, as we are already doing that with mammalian muscle tissues.

  • Jeff Wright

    Like Mars isn’t red enough with that iron? You just gave China a horrible idea for Great Wall 2.
    I can hear a snowy static-filled signal…with quindar beeps: “Blah! What a waste…..wait….this soil IS dried blood from…from-augh!”

  • wayne

    Holy cow, “they” always have to go with the most outrageous & energy/labor intensive ‘thing they can dream up.
    Cozmik Konkrete, eh?

    In my humble opinion, it’s going to be a combination of indigenous aggregates and some sort of polymer-chemistry suitable to curing under the physical constraints of Mars.
    (Unless they really intend to breed people for Soylent Green, a thought I would not entirely discount.)

    I think these folks might be on to something, but they don’t however have a Space-Research Division.

    https://shotcrete.org/

    “Shotcrete, gunite , or sprayed concrete is a dry or wet-mix concrete or mortar conveyed through a hose and pneumatically projected at high velocity onto a surface, as a construction technique, first used in 1914 invented by engineer, Heidar Rizouki.”

  • pzatchok

    Mars has everything to make cement. The main ingredient for concrete.

  • J Fincannon

    “Let them make bricks without straw”.

    Of all the ideas I have heard, I am dismayed the most by this one. The study at least had no association I could find with NASA, thank goodness. Its going to be a hell of a time just to get astronauts safely to and from Mars without causing loss of life/mission/humanity. Now they want to build structures from blood? Apparently, we need a competition (for clickbait) to make even more gruesome tech to help to go to Mars. What is this world going to?

  • wayne

    Interesting stuff, free PDF download of their trade-magazine.
    https://shotcrete.org/shotcrete-magazine/current-magazine-issue/

    pzatchok–
    Expand on that if you have a moment.
    (my grand-father was an actual civil-engineer, me, not so much.)

    broader esoteric question:
    What sort of radiation-shielding value does generic concrete provide?

  • John

    They would never use human blood or plasma, just the blood of the unvaccinated.

  • Star Bird

    The Russians sent a Dog into Space She did not Survive

  • pzatchok

    https://civiltoday.com/civil-engineering-materials/cement/10-cement-ingredients-with-functions
    https://www.universetoday.com/99527/msl-update-curiosity-finds-calcium-rich-deposits/

    Cement is the powdery substance that when mixed with clean water binds the other stuff like sand and aggregate(gravel) together.

    The hard part that must be done very close to first, in order to make a sustainable colony, would be to establish a chemical processing plant or system on Mars.
    Yes we will send the first cement up by rocket but the water, aggregate and filler would come from Mars itself.

  • Tom D

    This discussion is, um, interesting, but it seems unlikely that industrial amounts of albumin can be obtained from donors or even chicken-laid eggs. Chemical fabrication through industrial processes seems a lot more doable. In the meantime this makes quite the April Fool’s joke and/or horror story, but that’s about it.

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