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#1 2005-03-19 15:35:10

Tb0ne
Member
From: Vancouver, British Columbia, C
Registered: 2005-01-30
Posts: 15

Re: Protein Sources in First Colonies - An idea

I've read many times that there will be either a strong lack or complete shortage of Protien sources (from animals) in the first Martian Colonies.

My idea is to drill a series of very deep and fairly wide holes into the Martian ground. These holes then would be lined with a layer of material to keep them seperated from the "dirt". Then a building would be built around the holes so that early colonist could access them without space suits.
These holes would then be filled with water and be used like giant Aquariums to grow fish and other types of sea life.

I lack the scientific background to know if such a thing would work, so I'm asking if anyone here could answer such a question.

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#2 2005-03-20 10:54:24

srmeaney
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From: 18 tiwi gdns rd, TIWI NT 0810
Registered: 2005-03-18
Posts: 976

Re: Protein Sources in First Colonies - An idea

Yes it is possible. A few problems to overcome though.

1. Water pressure in the tube will be lower due to the difference in gravity. this means that water freezes at a much higher temperature than on earth.

2. Surrounding pressures by very cold permafrost glacier that you will probably be living on covers most of the planet Mars. Warm water will disapate heat into the ground. This means the ground is activly cooling your fish-well.

3. Because of the absorbtion of all this cold energy by the fish-well, The inside of the building is going to get very cold So you will need to wear a space suit after all.

4. Fish are only going to feed within a certain temperature range. If you cant achieve that window of opportunity, you are going to wind up with dead fish and no breeding cycle for replenishment.

5. Fish of given species live within certain depth ranges because the water pressure at those depths is critical for their survival.

6. You must provide Oxygen replenishment for your water. Fish, despite thought to the contrary do require a little bit of Oxygen in their Nutrient solution.

If you are going to dig deep holes on Mars to breed fish, it must be to look for geothermal energy. Heat energy is the only thing that will keep your colony alive.

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#3 2005-03-21 20:30:13

Tb0ne
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From: Vancouver, British Columbia, C
Registered: 2005-01-30
Posts: 15

Re: Protein Sources in First Colonies - An idea

What if power supply wasn't a big problem in the colony? heating pipes could be placed in the sealing layer to keep the water at the desired temperature.

I'm thinking along the lines of a nuclear reactor of some sort, ala Red Mars' Underhill.

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#4 2005-03-22 08:03:08

srmeaney
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From: 18 tiwi gdns rd, TIWI NT 0810
Registered: 2005-03-18
Posts: 976

Re: Protein Sources in First Colonies - An idea

So you have pressurised, heated tubes where the waste of colonists feeds algae and snails. This inturn is used to feed the fish. Are you going to eat the fish knowing that they are eating something that fed on your waste?

The tubes will probably need to be housed off the ground. Possibly a second story with thermal radiators above and below. This would allow you to operate in shirt sleeves as long as you put the machinery above you on the third floor. This would provide some radiation shielding. Your food supply would need to be watched for genetic and viral problems.

Ultimately you must build a sustainable waste-processing foodchain between you and the waste you produce.

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#5 2005-04-18 14:05:56

Fledi
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From: in my own little world (no,
Registered: 2003-09-14
Posts: 325

Re: Protein Sources in First Colonies - An idea

2. Surrounding pressures by very cold permafrost glacier that you will probably be living on covers most of the planet Mars. Warm water will disapate heat into the ground. This means the ground is activly cooling your fish-well.

What about adding layers of insulation to the bottom of the fish-well or placing the whole thing on insulated legs in the worst case?

How much water is needed to have enough fish bred for a person?

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#6 2005-04-22 00:03:29

Tb0ne
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From: Vancouver, British Columbia, C
Registered: 2005-01-30
Posts: 15

Re: Protein Sources in First Colonies - An idea

The type of fish that are commonly "farmed" this way are called Tilapia. They are a fast growing (and i think fast breeding?) type of fish from Africa, although I think there are varieties that can live in colder water.

This "pond" in the First Colony would be sealed from the Martian ground/soil by a thick layer of material (I'm no engineer so I don't know what would be best), probably with piping within its structure to distribute heat throughout the lining and keep the fish pond/well at the desired warmth (The water temp must not go below 50º F). The desired tempurature would be between 82º and 86º F.

As I imagine the first Martian Colony's will run off some sort of Nuclear Power, the power to run this facility would not be a problem.

The first steps would be obtain the fastest growing, fastest breeding and easiest growing type of Tilapia, and then through genentic engineering these attributes would be further increased. Then through the advice of Tilapia aquafarmers (which currently exist in fairly large numbers) a perfect diet could be designed to feed these fish when on Mars.

Ideally some sort of cheap "fish feed" would also be shipped from Earth (when other shipments are coming) to help feed the fish at first. Another important point to remember is these type of fish can grow in Rice fields, if there is enough water and once they reach around 6 inches, can be harvested and eaten. This would further increase the amount of food available to the colonists.

P.S. I only say a Genetically engineer variety of Tilapia because this "type" would NEVER be coming back to Earth and probably would never released into the Martian environment once its Terraformed.

This is what they look like:
http://www.thaifishingguide.com/images....pia.jpg

This is a Tilapia farm pond:
http://ag.arizona.edu/azaqua....ond.JPG

Some information on the Species:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tilapia

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#7 2005-04-22 03:55:34

srmeaney
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From: 18 tiwi gdns rd, TIWI NT 0810
Registered: 2005-03-18
Posts: 976

Re: Protein Sources in First Colonies - An idea

Ideally some sort of cheap "fish feed" would also be shipped from Earth (when other shipments are coming) to help feed the fish at first. Another important point to remember is these type of fish can grow in Rice fields, if there is enough water and once they reach around 6 inches, can be harvested and eaten. This would further increase the amount of food available to the colonists.

Perhaps an ideal fish food could be produced on Mars. We discuss elswhere the idea of snails fed on human waste. Would fish be healthy eating snail meat?
As to the Rice: I've seen swamp grass that was more productive.

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#8 2005-04-22 12:02:03

RobS
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From: South Bend, IN
Registered: 2002-01-15
Posts: 1,701
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Re: Protein Sources in First Colonies - An idea

I'd put fish farms on the surface, not in a well, so that solar energy can help heat the water. If you have a 100 square meter pond, for example (10 meters or 33 feet square) the sun provides up to a half kilowatt-hour per square meter per hour to the pond, about 5 kilowatt-hours per day or 500 kilowatt-hours for a 100 square meter pond. That's about a quarter the heat output of the proposed reactor for Mars Direct. It's probably plenty to keep the water warm with proper insulation and will also power photosynthesis in the pond. If the water is three meters deep, the water itself will provide radiation shielding for most of the creatures in the pond. Since fish go up and down in a real-life pond on Earth, changing the pressure environment around them, I doubt shallow-water fish will have any pressure problems because of the lower gravity.

*Space Settlements: A Design Study* (NASA SP-413, 1977), page 98, says an L-5 colony of 10,000 people would need 2.6 square meters of fish pond per person. I think they are not assuming just tilapia, which are vegetarians. They are probably assuming a range of fish that will consume different things.

What do you feed the fish? If you have agriculture to feed the people, you have plant waste. People eat tomatoes, not tomato vines, but fish, rabbits, and chickens will eat the latter.

I wouldn't assume a shortage of protein. You can have a perfectly balanced diet in terms of amino acids (building blocks for proteins; the body will make proteins from them) from a mix of grains and vegetables. The American Indians balanced their amino acids with corn and beans (succatash). Beans also balance wheat and rice pretty well. Lentils are also good. Soybeans are great for making soy milk, cheese, and ice cream, and are very high in protein. Soy milk can't be hard to make; the ancient Chinese made it (I think it's basically finely ground up tofu in water).

You can also raise protein-rich mushrooms on plant waste; Zubrin mentions this. Once you have a hundred or so people, ship up a baby dairy cow (drugged up for launch and landing, I suppose) and you'll have milk. If you need more cows, ship up frozen embryos and emplant them in your now adult cow.

So there are lots of options, not just fish, and there will be plant waste to feed them as well as table scraps. Add green algae grown on human and animal waste and you'd have even more (marine and fresh water fish we already eat feed on these things, you know!).

        -- RobS

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#9 2005-04-22 17:36:24

Shaun Barrett
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From: Cairns, Queensland, Australia
Registered: 2001-12-28
Posts: 2,843

Re: Protein Sources in First Colonies - An idea

RobS:-

Once you have a hundred or so people, ship up a baby dairy cow (drugged up for launch and landing, I suppose) and you'll have milk. If you need more cows, ship up frozen embryos and emplant them in your now adult cow.

    A herd of dairy cattle, eh?
    Now you're talking!  :up:   big_smile


The word 'aerobics' came about when the gym instructors got together and said: If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it Jumping Up and Down.   - Rita Rudner

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#10 2005-04-22 20:29:56

Commodore
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From: Upstate NY, USA
Registered: 2004-07-25
Posts: 1,021

Re: Protein Sources in First Colonies - An idea

Except you'd need a small armada of ships to grow food for your cow on the journey.  :;):

They have pigmey cows that could do the same with lower food requirement. Otherwise, I'd go with chickens, or maybe swine.

Frankly, if theres no bacon on Mars, I don't want to go.  big_smile


"Yes, I was going to give this astronaut selection my best shot, I was determined when the NASA proctologist looked up my ass, he would see pipes so dazzling he would ask the nurse to get his sunglasses."
---Shuttle Astronaut Mike Mullane

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#11 2005-04-22 21:47:35

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,657
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Re: Protein Sources in First Colonies - An idea

Sounds like you found a good reason to get serious about hibernation research. Not for humans, as many have argued, but for farm animal breeding stock.

Embryos have been flash-frozen in liquid nitrogen, and later thawed; but adult animals never survive cryogenics. I saw a documentary about one researcher who cryogenically froze a hibernating ground squirrel. It was completely frozen solid; he knocked on its head with a spoon to demonstrate it was frozen. He was able to thaw and revive it, and it did walk around for a few minutes, but bled internally and died. The freezing process creates ice crystals that pierce cell walls, destroying them. The solution for an adult animal is hibernation, not cryogenics. Hibernation can last for months at a time; some species of ground squirrel hibernate from September to May. That's 8 months, more than the 6 months required to get to Mars. If you can induce a cow or pig to hibernate, it may wake up thin and hungry but you can feed it there. Body temperature during hibernation drops below 10°C, usually about 6°C but arctic ground squirrels drop to -3°C (they have natural antifreeze in their blood). One species of bird is known to hibernate, the common poorwill; but it isn't necessary to induce chickens to hibernate, just take fertilized eggs.

Before sending livestock make sure you have pressurized barns with pressure walls they can't pierce, and greenhouses to produce sufficient fodder.

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#12 2005-04-22 23:28:08

MarsDog
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From: vancouver canada
Registered: 2004-03-24
Posts: 852

Re: Protein Sources in First Colonies - An idea

Martian slaughter yards for cows are a long way off.
Perhaps McDonalds and the beef lobby will perform low gravity demonstration slaughter experiments with 8/3 mass cows.

Martian Cows could become sacred as in India.

Sheep pigs and goats, maybe ?

Birds and rodents will be the biggest to be consumed for a long while.

Capybara milk farms for Mars ?

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#13 2005-04-23 10:13:50

Commodore
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From: Upstate NY, USA
Registered: 2004-07-25
Posts: 1,021

Re: Protein Sources in First Colonies - An idea

Sounds like you found a good reason to get serious about hibernation research. Not for humans, as many have argued, but for farm animal breeding stock.

Embryos have been flash-frozen in liquid nitrogen, and later thawed; but adult animals never survive cryogenics. I saw a documentary about one researcher who cryogenically froze a hibernating ground squirrel. It was completely frozen solid; he knocked on its head with a spoon to demonstrate it was frozen. He was able to thaw and revive it, and it did walk around for a few minutes, but bled internally and died. The freezing process creates ice crystals that pierce cell walls, destroying them. The solution for an adult animal is hibernation, not cryogenics. Hibernation can last for months at a time; some species of ground squirrel hibernate from September to May. That's 8 months, more than the 6 months required to get to Mars. If you can induce a cow or pig to hibernate, it may wake up thin and hungry but you can feed it there. Body temperature during hibernation drops below 10°C, usually about 6°C but arctic ground squirrels drop to -3°C (they have natural antifreeze in their blood). One species of bird is known to hibernate, the common poorwill; but it isn't necessary to induce chickens to hibernate, just take fertilized eggs.

Before sending livestock make sure you have pressurized barns with pressure walls they can't pierce, and greenhouses to produce sufficient fodder.

Looks like all we need is Hydrogen Sulphide.


"Yes, I was going to give this astronaut selection my best shot, I was determined when the NASA proctologist looked up my ass, he would see pipes so dazzling he would ask the nurse to get his sunglasses."
---Shuttle Astronaut Mike Mullane

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#14 2005-04-23 15:41:36

RobS
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From: South Bend, IN
Registered: 2002-01-15
Posts: 1,701
Website

Re: Protein Sources in First Colonies - An idea

Hibernation would help! I assumed you'd ship a few baby animals; they're small, easier to handle, more dependent on humans, and need less food and such. Then you'd use their uteruses to raise imported frozen embryos. They'd probably need gravity, too; they might freak out in zero g. But if they slept all or even part of the time, so much the better!

         -- RobS

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#15 2005-04-23 16:55:42

Commodore
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From: Upstate NY, USA
Registered: 2004-07-25
Posts: 1,021

Re: Protein Sources in First Colonies - An idea

Yeah, if that pans out a whole herd could be put to "sleep", put on a slow IV drip for norishment, and launched. If the crew gets hungery, they can wake one up and slaugher it.

Of course theres the not so small manner of getting these critters adapted to their new g when they wake up.


"Yes, I was going to give this astronaut selection my best shot, I was determined when the NASA proctologist looked up my ass, he would see pipes so dazzling he would ask the nurse to get his sunglasses."
---Shuttle Astronaut Mike Mullane

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#16 2005-04-24 01:15:07

Tb0ne
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From: Vancouver, British Columbia, C
Registered: 2005-01-30
Posts: 15

Re: Protein Sources in First Colonies - An idea

That's true about a vegitarian diet providing all the needed sources of protein, I should have said a source of meat instead.

With living conditions probably less than what they were used to back on Earth (more cramped, no "outside", etc), again it would only be natural that they would try and expand their diets over time, which would probably boost moral in the Colony.

Looking at the Mars Homestead Designs project website, its main habitation design features a central opening with a park of sorts and a pond. Such ponds might serve to farm additional Tilipia to be harvested on rare occassions.

http://www.marshome.org/

If this new hiberation technology ends up working for other mammals that's definatly a positive step towards having additional sources of meat in the first colony. However I don't imagine Rodents or other digging animals will be taken at first. Wouldnt' there be a risk that they would dig out somehow? espcially if they were in the Greenhouses. I know they couldn't live on the surface but still I don't imagine it would be safe for the greenhouse.

I wonder would they grow chickens with these sorts of methods to save space and energy:
http://www.aces.edu/dept/nass/kidpage/c … 20barn.jpg
http://www.eggs.ab.ca/egg_industry/BARN2.jpg
http://css.hsd.ca/nchicken.jpg

With the amount of food that a cow eats I imagine they would use Goats as a source of milk instead.

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#17 2005-04-25 20:25:06

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 14,795

Re: Protein Sources in First Colonies - An idea

There are many mammals the hibernate; squires, chip munks and others fairly small creatures but if you need size go with bears.

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#18 2005-04-26 00:16:32

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 5,657
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Re: Protein Sources in First Colonies - An idea

Bears don't hibernate, they sleep. Breathing, heart rate, metabolic rate, and body temperature don't drop farther than sleep. In fact bears wake up several times during the winter. You don't want a grumpy bear on your spacecraft heading to Mars.

The point is to produce meat on Mars. Chickens produce more meat per pound of feed than cattle, but they don't produce milk and I don't think people want to eat chicken all the time. What farm animals produce a lot of meat per pound of feed? Cattle were the preferred because they fed themselves from range grass, transported themselves to market, large animals were easy track, and cattle tend to stick together (herd). Free transportation doesn't exist any more, we use trucks and trains, and we feed cattle bailed hay and prepare them for slaughter by feeding them grain at a feed lot for 2 weeks.

I read that maturing elk grow 200 pounds in 200 days. That should make elk meat less expensive than beef, and it is available in some stores now, but costs more than beef. The only reason I can think of is farmers are raising elk on prime land, keeping them in a confined space and feeding them hay, and finishing them by feeding grain for 2 weeks. If elk will ever be a successful agricultural product, it has to be different. Farmers should be raising them on marginal land that can't grow grain or other agricultural products, letting elk feed themselves from pasture grasses and plants, then taking them directly to slaughter without any grain feed. Skipping the 2 weeks of grain feed will result in a "wild" taste, especially if the animals eat dry grass, but if it's to compete with beef it has to taste different. Skipping the feed lot will also produce leaner meat, especially if the animals run around (exercise). Most especially this simple method of growing pastured elk will reduce the cost of production, making elk meat less expensive than beef. A lower cost lean red meat with an interesting flavour would sell. We have to use greenhouses on Mars and confine animals to barns, so pasturing is out of the question, but rapid meat growth is an asset.

Which animals produce the most protein per pound of feed?

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#19 2005-04-29 08:06:33

CanalBuilder
Member
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Registered: 2005-04-07
Posts: 13

Re: Protein Sources in First Colonies - An idea

I think we should follow the chicken idea further. They're small. They can be transported easily in their embryonic state (just put them in an egg-carton at the right temp). They can be fed on scraps and left-overs. They make great fertilizer (though it needs dilution). As well as meat, you get eggs. If we take enough eggs, we should be sure of getting a mix of cocks and hens, and hence more chickens.

Now for the downsides. chickens flapping around in low g would be chaotic. Very funny, but chaotic. Numbers would be limited by the food available. There's no point growing grain just to give it animals. It may be possible to grow fodder quickly and easily, I haven't investigated that yet, but it might be worthwhile.

Of course another animal that has traditionally been fed on scraps is the pig. European cuisine is justly proud that it can use every part of the pig apart from the 'oink'.

So there we have it: egg and bacon for breakfast, sausage sandwich for lunch, omelette for dinner, and that Scottish speciality battered black pudding for supper. Sounds good to me.

Ed


third star on the right and straight on til morning

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#20 2005-04-29 08:55:21

srmeaney
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From: 18 tiwi gdns rd, TIWI NT 0810
Registered: 2005-03-18
Posts: 976

Re: Protein Sources in First Colonies - An idea

That's true about a vegitarian diet providing all the needed sources of protein, I should have said a source of meat instead.

Vegetarians require far greater volumes of food to extract the same minimum of protiens. Therefore Vegetarians are financially unsustainable compared to non vegetarians.

Of course another animal that has traditionally been fed on scraps is the pig. European cuisine is justly proud that it can use every part of the pig apart from the 'oink'.

Pigs are healthier, have a lower fat volume, and are less likely to pick up disease if fed on a meal of grains such as rice, corn, sorgum, and a 'sweet' such as sugar cane cuttings. They also exibit a higher level of intelligence than ones fed substandard food.

So there we have it: egg and bacon for breakfast, sausage sandwich for lunch, omelette for dinner, and that Scottish speciality battered black pudding for supper. Sounds good to me.

Breakfast will consist of a protien rich snail and mushroom fry sandwich on bread from imported grain plus a drink of Milk or fruit juice. No coffee. Irritable start.

Lunch, a Salad with a bit of cheese and a litre of water which despite complaints that you dont want to take a bath right now, the doctor will require you to drink. Still no coffee for all the addicts. Increased stress.
Dinner, A microwave meal with something resembling meat.

Looking at the rest of the crew funny is not going to get you that coffee any faster.

Desert, a piece of chewy sugarcane. Unsatisfying. Someone mentioned coffee and you punched them out.
Imported foods (Dairy, preserved Meat and Canned Vegetable, fruit juice) will be at premium. A single, insufficiently small shipment culminating in a series of unsolved murders where a number of colonists were killed for their share of the coffee.

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#21 2005-04-29 10:30:05

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 14,795

Re: Protein Sources in First Colonies - An idea

From Getting air on Mars topic courtesy of MarsDog:
Thermochemistry

Food table:
TB05_004.GIF

As you can see growing peanuts could serve for the protein.
Then again drain off the fat and make a biodesel engine run for free.

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#22 2005-04-29 12:15:44

srmeaney
Member
From: 18 tiwi gdns rd, TIWI NT 0810
Registered: 2005-03-18
Posts: 976

Re: Protein Sources in First Colonies - An idea

According to the chart, a beef and cheese sandwich gives you everything you need. Peanuts may be percentile efficient, but the little buggers still taste inferior to a cheese and beef sandwitch.

Mind, I suppose 'some' comprimise will have to be found. And after the crew start killing themselves for whatever strange reason, the few of us left can have mystery meat stir fry.

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#23 2005-06-05 12:06:05

spacester
Member
From: Northern Oregon Coast
Registered: 2005-06-05
Posts: 1

Re: Protein Sources in First Colonies - An idea

What a great thread! I'm impressed.

My first post here at newmars, I hope to find time to spend here again soon. This is a nice place.

I've been talking about Mars Settlement over on the space.com forums. Methinks it's time to call in some of the expertise here. We're trying to form an organization along the lines of a Citizen's Space Agency to do Mars, Moon and Asteroids. Overall goal: Become a Space-Faring society.

Anybody want to buy us a url? I've got massive broadband bandwidth lined up for the websites we'll use to keep track of everything. Ground Floor Opportunity.

Expect new threads and probably some new members in the coming weeks. :;):  cool You heard it here first lol

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#24 2005-06-05 20:05:34

Dook
Banned
From: USA
Registered: 2004-01-09
Posts: 1,409

Re: Protein Sources in First Colonies - An idea

A beef and cheese sandwich will not give you everything you need.  The body requires much more than fat and carbohydrates and protein.  There are many vitamins and minerals we need to function correctly.  A multi-vitamins and fiber tablets help but they cannot take the place of everything. 

Most reputable dieticians agree that a variety of foods is the key.

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#25 2005-06-06 09:18:35

Rxke
Member
From: Belgium
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 3,657

Re: Protein Sources in First Colonies - An idea

Vegetarians require far greater volumes of food to extract the same minimum of protiens. Therefore Vegetarians are financially unsustainable compared to non vegetarians.

Hm. I think you got it backward, no?


Hi, spacester, welcome to New Mars, and the more the merrier, but I hope you leave the more errr... 'outspoken' ones from SDC safely there! big_smile


ExoMars' launcher's 2nd stage is probably en route to Mars. Unsterilised... yikes

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