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Farming in space
06-16-2014, 04:26 PM #1
Octo Mother Superior
Posts:40,757 Threads:1,524 Joined:Feb 2011
As one of the world's only ‘astroecologists’, Dr Michael Mautner thinks it is entirely possible to, in the future, directly grow certain plants on other planets.

This will be vital for a future colony to survive on Mars, he claims.

The privately-funded Mars One mission plans to have a human settlement on Mars within a decade. Meanwhile, Nasa believes putting man on the red planet will be possible by 2030.

But one of the biggest challenges is providing food to sustain astronauts. Currently its costs nearly £14,000 ($23,000) to send a kilogram of food into space.
To grow the plants, Dr Mautner ground up meteorites to create something closely resembling soil.

‘A variety of soil bacteria, algae, and asparagus and potato tissue cultures grew well in these asteroid/meteorite soils and also in Martian meteorite soils,’ Dr Mautner reported.

His plan is to eventually find several different plants and extraterrestrial soil types that provide the best conditions to farm in space.

‘Given the estimated amounts of asteroid materials shows that these resources can support trillions of humans comfortably in our solar system, and eventually, in billions of other solar systems throughout the galaxy,’ Dr Mautner said.

Moe Po Taters Show this Post
06-16-2014, 05:30 PM #2
Moe Po Taters Incognito Anonymous
06-16-2014, 06:59 PM #3
Octo Mother Superior
Posts:40,757 Threads:1,524 Joined:Feb 2011
06-17-2014, 01:44 AM #4
UniqueStranger Art in my heart
Posts:14,728 Threads:439 Joined:Jun 2012
That's very interesting, but there's more to do than just finding a growing medium.

Quote:The atmosphere of Mars is less than 1% of Earth's, so it does not protect the planet from the Sun's radiation nor does it do much to retain heat at the surface. It consists of 95% carbon dioxide, 3% nitrogen, 1.6% argon, and the remainder is trace amounts of oxygen, water vapor, and other gases.
06-17-2014, 02:40 AM #5
Octo Mother Superior
Posts:40,757 Threads:1,524 Joined:Feb 2011
Maybe a self sustainable bio-dome with enough vegetation to produce oxygen. I always wanted a big greenhouse.

How many plants would you need to generate oxygen for yourself in an airlock?

Quote:The easiest way to keep yourself alive in an airlock would be to stock it with plants. But how many plants are enough? This is a harder problem to solve, because there are endless variables. One of the most vexing ones is the fact that plants produce less oxygen as carbon dioxide levels increase. They produce different amounts of oxygen at different phases of their growing cycle. They take in different amounts of carbon dioxide at different temperatures. And finally, some plants only "breathe," at night in order to save water - which if you are in a perpetually lit room or are killed after only half a day doesn't do you any good at all.

Scientists estimate a safe oxygen consumption of 50 liters per hour for a human. Meanwhile, a leaf gives off about five milliliters of oxygen per hour. A person would need to be in a room with about ten thousand leaves. About 300 to 500 plants would produce the right amount of oxygen, but it's much harder to estimate the amount of carbon dioxide the plants absorb, especially if every time a person breathes out, they inhibit oxygen production. To be safe, don't get into an airlock without bringing about seven hundred potted plants with you.




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