Author Topic: Algae for space food  (Read 9158 times)

Offline aero

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Re: Algae for space food
« Reply #40 on: 03/23/2013 11:39 PM »
If chicken can convert algae at 30-40% efficiency compared to 60-70% for Tilapia, it just means chicken will cost double the price of Tilapia. But both will be more efficient (and hence cheaper) then real vegetables.

So, chicken or Tilapia, bread from algae, and tomatoes. Serve with spices of your choice - they weigh nothing and have a long shelf life, so can come from Earth.

I don't know about Tilapia, but I would ask how you plan to transport the first chickens from Earth to Mars? It's my understanding that fertilized eggs won't work. They will either hatch or spoil.
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Online Patchouli

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Re: Algae for space food
« Reply #41 on: 03/24/2013 02:11 AM »
If chicken can convert algae at 30-40% efficiency compared to 60-70% for Tilapia, it just means chicken will cost double the price of Tilapia. But both will be more efficient (and hence cheaper) then real vegetables.

So, chicken or Tilapia, bread from algae, and tomatoes. Serve with spices of your choice - they weigh nothing and have a long shelf life, so can come from Earth.

I don't know about Tilapia, but I would ask how you plan to transport the first chickens from Earth to Mars? It's my understanding that fertilized eggs won't work. They will either hatch or spoil.

It might be possible to breed squab aka pigeons to be closer to chicken in their efficiency at producing meat since they can eat and drink in microgravity.

Though live chickens could be transported to Mars if the transport ship has a centrifuge like Nautilus-X.

I suggest miniature chickens to carry as many as possible then carry sperm of larger breeds.

Eggs would still need a centrifuge just a smaller one but it would be bad to find out that your eggs have not hatched or all the surviving chickens have defects half way to Mars.

A Nautilus-X type ship could solve a lot of the Earth to Mars transport issues including how do you get a lot of people there for an affordable cost.


« Last Edit: 03/24/2013 02:20 AM by Patchouli »

Offline Robert Thompson

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Re: Algae for space food
« Reply #42 on: 03/24/2013 04:48 AM »
It is quite well known that Tilapia tastes of almost nothing. BTW that is why I don't buy them in the shop.
Perhaps the next time I am out of the Sonoran Desert and closer to a German climate I will try the tilapia. :)

Is there anything here that could be put into practice with the Mars Desert Research Station in Utah? Have them set up algae processing, algae fish farms, etc.

Offline guckyfan

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Re: Algae for space food
« Reply #43 on: 03/24/2013 05:57 AM »
So, chicken or Tilapia, bread from algae, and tomatoes. Serve with spices of your choice - they weigh nothing and have a long shelf life, so can come from Earth.

I don't know about Tilapia, but I would ask how you plan to transport the first chickens from Earth to Mars? It's my understanding that fertilized eggs won't work. They will either hatch or spoil.

We have the

Mars ISRU for food crops and consumables

thread for this kind of discussion in the Missions To Mars thread.

http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/index.php?topic=29820.0

I post a reply there.

Edit: fixed quote
« Last Edit: 03/24/2013 06:52 AM by guckyfan »

Offline bolun

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Re: Algae for space food
« Reply #44 on: 06/27/2014 01:32 PM »
Algae have been studied for bioregenerative life support, notably in ESA's Melissa project. Spirulina turns out to be one of the best candidates. It is chock-full of everything you need, including vitamins.

There's a big snag though, humans cannot eat more than ~100g/day of algae (or more generally single cell proteine) without getting gout. Somewhere during our evolution we lost the ability to break down uric acid, which is a product of DNA / RNA digestion and when we get too much of it, it forms the painful crystals responsible for gout. Spirulina is an excellent food supplement, but not suitable as the main component of your diet. Plus you don't want to be eating nothing but algae soup every day.

Fish on the other hand do have the ability to break down uric acid, and Tilapia thrive on a Spirulina diet, so the combination would be very useful for human consumption.

Well that is what I was talking about when I mentioned food processing.  I was imagining that algae would not be terribly tasty. 

The raw material is there we just need to do food processing to turn it into something useful.

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_Spaceflight/Research/Closing_the_recycling_circle

Quote

Spirulina bioreactors

The ‘Melissa loop’ is about to take off. All around the world – and soon above it – key pieces of the puzzle are being tested to see how they fit into the whole.

First up is a photo-bioreactor that uses light to power organisms for turning unwanted carbon dioxide into something we can use.

Bioreactors cultivate organisms in closed containers but getting a species to thrive is no easy task. As the occupants grow they need space and different lighting. And continuously drawing the good stuff out of the reactor ready for human consumption cannot be allowed to disturb the mini-ecosystem.
 
The Melissa team has made great progress in this domain and is ready to test their system in space. In the next 12 months they will send Spirulina algae to the International Space Station to see how well it grows in microgravity.

Spirulina has been harvested for food in South America and Africa for centuries. It turns carbon dioxide into oxygen, multiplies rapidly and can also be eaten as a delicious protein-rich astronaut meal.

The first experiment will simply assess how Spirulin aadapts to weightlessness so researchers can fine-tune the unit.

The next step is a hands-on test: an experiment that mimics astronauts’ breathing will be connected to the bioreactor so the Spirulina can grow on a steady stream of carbon dioxide, delivering oxygen in return.

If these early tests in space go well, the team will be a long way towards the ultimate goal of recycling carbon dioxide, water and organic waste into food, water and oxygen

Image credit: ESA

Offline guckyfan

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Re: Algae for space food
« Reply #45 on: 06/28/2014 02:11 PM »
It's the way to go. Unfortunately from

here


to there


is some way to go.

Offline Hanelyp

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Re: Algae for space food
« Reply #46 on: 06/29/2014 12:46 AM »
An algae with a mix of protein, carbs, and fats suitable for more direct conversion to human food might be desired even if somewhat less productive.  Something that could be dried and baked into bread without more than water and a leavening agent would be nice.

Offline butters

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Re: Algae for space food
« Reply #47 on: 06/29/2014 01:35 AM »
Adding an additional trophic level to the system would upgrade the product considerably. For example, use the cyanobacteria to cultivate small oily fish. That, along with aeroponic greens, would be pretty close to a complete diet, and quite palatable.

Offline lele

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Re: Algae for space food
« Reply #48 on: 06/30/2014 09:47 AM »
Note that the MELiSSA concept also include higher plants (wheat, rice, salad). IIRC the main objective of spirulina is to produce oxygen even if it was chosen because it can also be eaten.

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