# Can we make glass by heating Martian Soil

I was puzzled by a very interesting question. Can we heat up Martian soil and produce glass just the way we do here on Earth? (the basic way)

For info, Martian sand consists of the following -

• $\ce{Na2O}$ — $4~\%$

• $\ce{MgO}$ — $14~\%$

• $\ce{Al2O3}$ — $18~\%$

• $\ce{SiO2}$ — $8~\%$

• $\ce{P2O5}$ — $2~\%$
• $\ce{SO3}$ — $10~\%$
• $\ce{Cl}$ — $2~\%$
• $\ce{K2O}$ — $2~\%$
• $\ce{CaO}$ — $14~\%$
• $\ce{TiO2}$ — $2~\%$
• $\ce{Cr2O3}$ — $2~\%$
• $\ce{MnO}$ — $2~\%$
• $\ce{FeO}$ — $4~\%$
• $\ce{Ni}$ — $8~\%$
• $\ce{Zn}$ — $6~\%$
• $\ce{Br}$ — $2~\%$

I can't see anything out of place here, if we heat it up, the silica should do it at around $1700~\mathrm{^\circ C}$.

If we can figure out ways to make glass up there then it would be easy for Martian colonization if that is ever going to happen.

• I think this would be closer to a brick than a glass block. – MaxW Apr 12 '16 at 19:02
• Note that the sand does not actually contain chemical compounds like $\ce{Na2O}$, $\ce{P2O5}$, $\ce{SO3}$, $\ce{K2O}$ etc. These are just the reference compounds for the elemental analysis. – Loong Apr 12 '16 at 19:23
• Mars was found to have quite large reserves of sulfur, which can be used as a hot binder (at lowly ~200°C) for sand to make a kind of cement. arxiv.org/abs/1512.05461 – Karl Apr 12 '16 at 21:34
• @Loong - The OP called it "Martian sand" but I think "Martian soil" would probably be more accurate. We now know that Mars did have water, but I'd wonder about Mars having any ancient sandy beaches. My point about a brick is that you'd use less heat to sinter the soil to a brick than you would if you really melted the whole block to form a glass (assuming the composition is amenable which i doubt). – MaxW Apr 13 '16 at 3:12