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Full Version: Nasa can't send humans to Mars until it gets the food right
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What really matters, of course, is that the designers wear the right sort of shirts and are appropriately diverse in various PC-related ways. Who cares about getting the job done? /sarc
Food processing is an interesting subject. I think we take for granted the amount of textures and flavors we have at our disposal here. Ideally they would bring spice spices and herbs with them for hydroponic growing. Salt could be easily acquired I would think. They might need to bring fertilizers... Say goodbye to your hamburgers! Vegan Martians only!
Vat-grown hamburgers are probably the only meat product that the early colonists would be able to get hold of - I doubt that replicated steaks would be available until well into the First Federation, unless they were a speciality item on pre-Technocalype Earth.
This might terrify some people but a more likely scenario is that the cuisine of such colonies would simply not include red meat or poultry. Fish from aquaculture and insect meat is far more efficient in terms of growing space and both play more important roles in a controlled ecosystem. Aquaculture is especially useful because it can be combined with hydroponics, taking up the same space but producing a greater diversity of food.

Early space colonies may base their cuisine on something closer to Japanese food, mixed with Mediterranean leafy salads with oil, rather than western diets.
(03-29-2018, 09:22 AM)Rynn Wrote: [ -> ]This might terrify some people but a more likely scenario is that the cuisine of such colonies would simply not include red meat or poultry. Fish from aquaculture and insect meat is far more efficient in terms of growing space and both play more important roles in a controlled ecosystem. Aquaculture is especially useful because it can be combined with hydroponics, taking up the same space but producing a greater diversity of food.

Early space colonies may base their cuisine on something closer to Japanese food, mixed with Mediterranean leafy salads with oil, rather than western diets.

It certainly doesn't terrify me. From everything I've read insects are a vastly more efficient source of protein than 'Western' sources of such. Much of the planet outside of the North America and Europe already eat insects, either as a matter of course or as a delicacy. And if you consider things like shrimp, crabs, and lobsters, then arthropods (some of the biggest ones on the planet) are actually considered a delicacy in the West, too.

That all said, I will admit that I can't face softshell crabs at dinner - the legs in the air just get to me. But I'm pretty confident I could handle a properly processed insect based based. And of course, that's just a local cultural bias and what I'm used to. I'd sure I'd get used to more...buggy cuisine fairly quickly.

I would actually be unsurprised if insect based protein plays an increasing role in both the RL and the early part of the OA timeline, eventually become a far more common protein source than red meat.

Todd
If it's just about the protein, soybeans can cover that--no eating insects required. Tofu is pretty versatile.

They've actually gotten decent at making some vegetarian "meat". I've got a friend who's a vegetarian, and I can't tell the difference between the veggie taco "meat" that he buys, and the real beef stuff. I was impressed.

I could become a vegetarian if it meant that I got to live in a beautiful O'Neill cylinder filled with greenery. Mars doesn't interest me beyond the scientific. The freaking Atacama Desert is like Southern Italy compared to Mars.
I mostly eat a vegetarian diet, but tofu gives me gas. Maybe if I had been eating it all my life I would have adapted to it.
I'm pretty sure NASA could've made it to Mars as early as the 80's. 

Some of the best plans I've seen so far make use of landing robotic Sabatier reactors on the surface months ahead of the manned landing. By the time you arrive, you've got water, oxygen, and rocket fuel for the trip back into orbit (Mars orbit - your lander can take off again, but the mothership needs to carry it's own delta-v for the trip back to Earth.) Solar will still work fine as a power source, but you'll probably carry some RTG's too. 

As for recycling technologies, I remember an article that covered a new water recycling station that utilized algae to cleanse the water of wastes/toxins, and had an efficiency of 90%. Seems like NASA already has the tools it needs for long trips, they just don't have the funding. 

Found a newer article covering further development of their water recycling tech - apparently NASA got it up to 93% efficiency. https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/stati...ycler.html
(03-29-2018, 12:22 PM)JohnnyYesterday Wrote: [ -> ]If it's just about the protein, soybeans can cover that--no eating insects required. Tofu is pretty versatile.

They've actually gotten decent at making some vegetarian "meat". I've got a friend who's a vegetarian, and I can't tell the difference between the veggie taco "meat" that he buys, and the real beef stuff. I was impressed.

I could become a vegetarian if it meant that I got to live in a beautiful O'Neill cylinder filled with greenery. Mars doesn't interest me beyond the scientific. The freaking Atacama Desert is like Southern Italy compared to Mars.

And, you know, you could always eat tofu as its own dish rather than a meat substitute like those crazy Japanese people  Tongue
(03-28-2018, 10:41 PM)Drashner1 Wrote: [ -> ]
(03-28-2018, 08:55 PM)selden Wrote: [ -> ]Bear in mind that for many the ideas of living in space or going to Mars are not intended to be rational or to produce a profit. They want to go there because they want to go there. No logical counterarguments are going to change that desire. As best I can tell, that includes Elon Musk and his plans. Whether or not that'll result in long term colonization has yet to be determined.

Oh, I completely agree - I'm one of those people who would love to go there. But I want to see humanity go there and keep coming back and ultimately staying (not just on Mars but the Solar System - and beyond - in general).

My concern with the present focus on Mars is that it will end up like the Apollo program, which did its thing for a bit and then petered out for various reasons. IMHO a 'stepped' program of ever increasing development and capability, in which earlier steps help build the foundation for later steps, is a superior option over a massive 'leap' approach that maybe gets us that first mission to Mars a bit faster - but then doesn't do much else, at least for a long while.

As far as making a profit - getting a significant number of our eggs out of this particular basket would be good enough for me - but I suspect that kind of 'meta-goal' isn't going to be the only option and that people will figure out ways to make money off of space one way or another. Humans have a demonstrated track record of being rather good at that in most of the areas of endeavor they've taken on throughout historyBig Grin

Todd

My opinion is rather like yours, with a twist. We already have the horrible example of Apollo (which was magnificent, but actually a Cold War stunt that wasn't sustainable in any way) to look at. I would like to see commercial exploitation of space be the main emphasis for a great many years, including ain industrial/mining Moonbase with a mass-driver or two and construction bases (very small, to start with) in some appropriate Earth orbit to use the materials thus launched. The most obvious import from space, because it's cheap to transport, is electric power - and completely clean electric power is something we could really do with down here.

For a while at least, heavy industry in space is going to need staff and they will need somewhere to live. Radiation is a non-issue, because shielding could be provided simply with a couple of metres of dirt - maybe mining slag, powdered, as a base?

And when there is already heavy industry in space, including refuelling stations on assorted volatiles-bearing asteroids, and lots of people already there, Mars could be snapped up as an afterthought.

Hell, Gerard O'Neill said all this in 1985. Humanity has wasted THIRTY YEARS. Why, in the name of the god of your choice, haven't we got started yet??
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