Author Topic: Scaling Agriculture on Mars  (Read 225189 times)

Offline Robotbeat

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Re: Scaling Agriculture on Mars
« Reply #1160 on: 01/03/2018 01:34 PM »
Spirulina goes to the ISS to see how it lives in space. It is part of MELiSSA which is also sending more experiments to the ISS to see how biological ECLSS will work:

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_Spaceflight/Research/Planting_oxygen
Spirulina is a good one. Highly productive protein source. Tastes like a swamp, tho.
Chris  Whoever loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

To the maximum extent practicable, the Federal Government shall plan missions to accommodate the space transportation services capabilities of United States commercial providers. US law http://goo.gl/YZYNt0

Online docmordrid

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Re: Scaling Agriculture on Mars
« Reply #1161 on: 01/06/2018 05:29 PM »
Growing Mizuna On The International Space Station

http://spaceref.com/international-space-station/growing-mizuna-on-the-international-space-station.html

No idea what is mizuna

Japanese mustard greens, a sort of peppery salad makings. Tasty as an ingredient, though I prefer Romaine as a salad base. Especially if grilled.
« Last Edit: 01/06/2018 05:33 PM by docmordrid »
DM

Offline Katana

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Re: Scaling Agriculture on Mars
« Reply #1162 on: 01/13/2018 05:21 PM »
Yeah, I think hydroponics is the way to go for a while. Eventually we'll make soil by composting stuff, but it'll take a while, and hydroponics has a lot going for it.

I still think 90% of our calories will be grown in a vat (or grown in a vat before being fed to animals like fish or something), not in a field (hydroponic or otherwise). This will be true for a very long time, probably indefinitely. It's just ultimately a more efficient use of resources. And contrary to what Aegean claims, on Mars nitrogen fixation will be more efficient if done chemically, and this will probably be true until we terraform the place.

Washed Mars rocks can serve as hydroponic media. When it gets clogged with roots and stuff, we can crush it and mix with compost to make true soil.

Micro algae and algae-eating small shrimps in glass ecosphere, CO2 and fertilizer in, shrimps out.

Offline AegeanBlue

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Re: Scaling Agriculture on Mars
« Reply #1163 on: 01/30/2018 09:13 PM »
A methanotrophic edible bacterium investigated as food source:

https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/astronaut-food-feces-poop-bacteria-microbes

It is not part of MELiSSA

Offline Paul451

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Re: Scaling Agriculture on Mars
« Reply #1164 on: 01/31/2018 08:48 PM »
Not sure if this was ever posted?

Toxicity of Martian dust is exaggerated: http://fiso.spiritastro.net/telecon/McCoy_10-18-17/

Presentation (mp3) and slides (pdf).
« Last Edit: 01/31/2018 08:50 PM by Paul451 »

Offline AegeanBlue

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Re: Scaling Agriculture on Mars
« Reply #1165 on: 02/16/2018 09:03 PM »
VEGGIE is getting upgraded with an experiment launched on the next resupply run:

https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7581

Offline AegeanBlue

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Re: Scaling Agriculture on Mars
« Reply #1166 on: 03/23/2018 04:39 PM »
Two Veggie Units operating simultaneously aboard the ISS:

http://spaceref.com/international-space-station/two-veggie-units-are-operating-aboard-the-international-space-station.html

I assume the second one is the APH

Offline AegeanBlue

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Re: Scaling Agriculture on Mars
« Reply #1167 on: 03/26/2018 05:28 PM »
Nasa can't send humans to Mars until it gets the food right:

http://www.wired.co.uk/article/food-in-space-mars-iss-station-astronaut-eating

Per the article Mars bound astronauts are not likely to eat a Soylent type meal. I doubt Mars colonists are either

Offline spacenut

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Re: Scaling Agriculture on Mars
« Reply #1168 on: 03/26/2018 06:26 PM »
Nasa is looking at a LONG trip to Mars via a mother ship and a small lander, then a LONG trip back.  SpaceX is looking to a short trip when Mars is closest to earth with everyone landing on Mars in the large BFS.  Also pre-sent cargo for making fuel, air, and water for human consumption.  Food can be traditional food, freeze dried, with some plants for fresh food.  Maybe MRE's.  Agriculture will probably start right after fuel and power production. 

Offline AegeanBlue

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Re: Scaling Agriculture on Mars
« Reply #1169 on: 03/26/2018 07:02 PM »
My understanding about the NASA plan is that they will follow the Apollo paradigm: The mission kit is designed for a conjunction mission, stay in Mars for almost an entire year. However the first mission is likely to be an opposition mission, stay in Mars for 30 sols. This is the same way that Apollo 11 was a single EVA lasting 3 hours, versus the three day Apollo J missions. Knowing how NASA worked during the Apollo race and considering what has been published of the plans so far, after the LOP-G as is currently called basically shows what can and cannot work away from Earth, a series of rehearsals will follow away from the Earth moon system such as Earth-trailing mission or Crewed Venus flyby and then a Mars orbital mission with a visit to Phobos and Deimos before then follows the next landing. This is a pretty slow and conservative plan, but it is consistent with what NASA does nowadays, there is no risk for Apollo 1 and Apollo 13 anymore.

As for agriculture, I am pretty we will see updates of the APH (Advanced Plant Habitat) on the LOP-G and whatever follows. There will likely be a plant growth experiment that can be manipulated remotely on the first Mars mission, but real agriculture comes afterwards. What is SpaceX plan, I have no clue

Offline Slarty1080

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Re: Scaling Agriculture on Mars
« Reply #1170 on: 03/29/2018 05:51 PM »
My understanding about the NASA plan is that they will follow the Apollo paradigm: The mission kit is designed for a conjunction mission, stay in Mars for almost an entire year. However the first mission is likely to be an opposition mission, stay in Mars for 30 sols. This is the same way that Apollo 11 was a single EVA lasting 3 hours, versus the three day Apollo J missions. Knowing how NASA worked during the Apollo race and considering what has been published of the plans so far, after the LOP-G as is currently called basically shows what can and cannot work away from Earth, a series of rehearsals will follow away from the Earth moon system such as Earth-trailing mission or Crewed Venus flyby and then a Mars orbital mission with a visit to Phobos and Deimos before then follows the next landing. This is a pretty slow and conservative plan, but it is consistent with what NASA does nowadays, there is no risk for Apollo 1 and Apollo 13 anymore.

As for agriculture, I am pretty we will see updates of the APH (Advanced Plant Habitat) on the LOP-G and whatever follows. There will likely be a plant growth experiment that can be manipulated remotely on the first Mars mission, but real agriculture comes afterwards. What is SpaceX plan, I have no clue

I think the latest NASA plans now call for a conjunction class Mars landing mission as this minimises both radiation and micro gravity exposure. I'm suspect that early Mars missions will rely on ISS style food for the majority of their needs. Space grown food will come but it will take in situ trial an error to make it reliable enough for a mission critical element.
The first words spoken on Mars: "Humans have been wondering if there was any life on the planet Mars for many decades well ... there is now!"

Offline JQP

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Re: Scaling Agriculture on Mars
« Reply #1171 on: 04/01/2018 01:28 PM »
Quote
Food and agricultural products in general are not produced continually assembly line style, biology works in growth spurts. Even algae (which I think would be the best first crop) will produce in cycles. As a result just to keep the people there you need to produce twice what you need in order to cover shortfalls and spoilage.

Depending on how your agriculture is set up, this can become a lot less true. E.g., if you're using artificial lighting, you can set up your farm to produce crops continually, assembly line style, by staging the crops; every day/week/month/whatever, another crop is ready to harvest; many small harvests on a faster schedule, rather than one big harvest on a slow schedule. On Earth what you refer to is more about the seasons than it is about biology.

You don't need to overproduce by a factor of 2, at least not for the reasons you describe.

E.g:
Say your food stores for 10 years; 1/10th of it spoils every year. You need to grow enough extra food to replace 10% of your stores. If your stores are 2 years worth of food, you're losing .2 years worth of your stores every year. So, once you have sufficient emergency stores, you need to grow 1.2 years worth of food every year, not double. It's a function of how long your food stores, and many years of emergency stores you want to keep.
« Last Edit: 04/01/2018 01:29 PM by JQP »

Offline speedevil

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Re: Scaling Agriculture on Mars
« Reply #1172 on: 04/01/2018 03:41 PM »
Say your food stores for 10 years; 1/10th of it spoils every year.
A large frozen food store, at -80C, using pretty much the same technology as your cryo tanks, will let food be stored 'forever'.
At a low enough temperature, any effects that can cause changes in food when frozen go away.

Offline JQP

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Re: Scaling Agriculture on Mars
« Reply #1173 on: 04/01/2018 06:32 PM »
I was thinking canned food, but yeah if you're on Mars and the resupply is 6 months to 2 years away (have not actually looked into what our current range is), I suppose freezing the Hell out of it makes more sense. :)

What I forgot is that you can actually eat the emergency food before it spoils, meaning, no extra production is needed, ceteris paribus.
« Last Edit: 04/01/2018 06:34 PM by JQP »

Offline AegeanBlue

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Re: Scaling Agriculture on Mars
« Reply #1174 on: 04/04/2018 06:57 PM »
Assembly line style production, which happens in big greenhouses in places such as the Netherlands and Japan in very possible. The main issue though would be photoperiodism: some plant require particular day and night lengths to go between growing stages. I am thinking that especially if hydroponics is the way to go, where plants have a faster biological cycle, everything will be optimized to minimize the cycle so as to have more production in the same time.

Offline AegeanBlue

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Re: Scaling Agriculture on Mars
« Reply #1175 on: 04/04/2018 06:58 PM »
A very nice article on where space agriculture currently is. It does not mention though the PONDS upgrade to VEGGIE which has been in the news this week: VEGGIE is getting an upgrade on its water delivery system

https://physicsworld.com/a/rocket-for-rocketeers/

Offline JQP

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Re: Scaling Agriculture on Mars
« Reply #1176 on: 04/04/2018 07:09 PM »
Quote
Assembly line style production, which happens in big greenhouses in places such as the Netherlands and Japan in very possible. The main issue though would be photoperiodism: some plant require particular day and night lengths to go between growing stages. I am thinking that especially if hydroponics is the way to go, where plants have a faster biological cycle, everything will be optimized to minimize the cycle so as to have more production in the same time.

It's not immediately obvious how photo period is an issue - could you elaborate? Staging crops just means, for example, you do 10 batches of 10, once a week for 10 weeks, instead of 1 batch of 100 all at once. In the former example you harvest 10 crops, 1 a week, while in the latter you harvest one big crop, all at once.
« Last Edit: 04/04/2018 07:10 PM by JQP »

Offline AegeanBlue

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Re: Scaling Agriculture on Mars
« Reply #1177 on: 04/04/2018 08:46 PM »
Many plants, in order to move from vegetative growth to the flowering stage require a particular day length. Oats require short nights in order to flower, while rice long nights. Modern breeds have reduced these requirements, which is why we have tomatoes in the winter despite having long nights, but it is still a real phenomenon. Perennials are a whole other category, they may require sufficient cold units along with day length.

Offline JQP

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Re: Scaling Agriculture on Mars
« Reply #1178 on: 04/05/2018 01:52 AM »
Many plants, in order to move from vegetative growth to the flowering stage require a particular day length. Oats require short nights in order to flower, while rice long nights. Modern breeds have reduced these requirements, which is why we have tomatoes in the winter despite having long nights, but it is still a real phenomenon. Perennials are a whole other category, they may require sufficient cold units along with day length.

Ah, okay, so you're saying your crops will need different photoperiods for different stages because they're in different phases of maturity. True, but if you're outside Earth's environment you're probably going to need artificial lighting, at least supplemental, anyway. And different species have different needs as you say, so you're already looking at keeping separate areas. Separating them further by stage isn't that big a deal. The question is whether you're worried about the "all or nothing" nature of big crops. If you are, you can mitigate the risk by staging. If you don't have a good reason to stage in the first place, then yeah, it's not worth the extra effort.

Online sanman

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Re: Scaling Agriculture on Mars
« Reply #1179 on: 04/05/2018 09:24 PM »
Various pictures included in this article on EDEN-ISS project:

https://qz.com/1245978/scientists-grew-the-first-vegetables-in-antarctica-without-soil-or-sunlight/

https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/a19694244/antarctic-greenhouses-space-farmers/


And speaking of vegetables grown in shipping-containers, doesn't Elon's brother Kimbal Musk have some kind of startup relating to similar activities?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5582987/Kimbal-Musk-unveils-urban-farming-plan-produces-2-ACRES-worth-food-shipping-container.html

 It seems like the broader Musk family are involved in technologies that can benefit space colonization.
« Last Edit: 04/05/2018 09:27 PM by sanman »

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