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#1 2012-10-07 14:35:21

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
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Crops

This discussion thread is for specific crops for a permanent Mars settlement. This is an early settlement, but not the first science mission.

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#2 2012-10-07 14:37:30

RobertDyck
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Re: Crops

Coffee

People require coffee. English have grown accustomed to tea, but North Americans drink coffee. Engineers and scientists need their caffeine fix.

Coffee growing conditions
                        Arabica    Robusta
Altitude               600-2200m    0-800m
Rainfall              1200-2200mm 2200-3000mm
Temperature             15-24°C    18-36°C
Caffeine                 1.2%       2.2%
Chlorogenic acid (CGA) 5.5-8.0%   7.0-10.0%
Sugar (sucrose)          6-9%       3-7%
Lipids                  15-17%     10-11.5%

Arabica is self-pollinating plant, meaning the plant will have fewer mutations and fewer variations throughout its life cycle as compared to Robusta.
Arabica has double the number of chromosomes at 44 than Robusta at 22.

For Arabica, its altitude equates to pressure 13.7 psi (94.2 kPa) to 11.3 psi (78.2 kPa). Earth's atmosphere has 20.9% O2, so partial pressure works out to 2.3617 psi (16.34 kPa). This is well within the recommended atmosphere for a Mars habitat.

Coffee is a bush, growing 3-3.5m tall (10-12 feet).

My conclusion is we can grow pure Arabica coffee in a greenhouse.

Size for a 12 person initial settlement. Statistics for Canada, each person consumed 6.5 kg of coffee per year. Each tree produces 3 pounds of ground coffee per year. So that requires 4.7766833 coffee trees per person. That's 57.25 coffee trees. One plantation reports 14,000 coffee trees in 18 acres. For 12 people that works out to 298 square metres. That's just for trees, not including any processing or storage. Good yield requires drip irrigation, and symmetrical tree planting. This is also for direct sun, not intercropping with nitrogen fixing trees. For Mars, we would probably require long narrow greenhouses, oriented long in the east-west direction, and mirrors outside the greenhouse along the long sides to double "insolation", meaning sunlight. Remember Mars gets 43% as much sunlight as Earth, clouds are extremely rare, but the glass has to be coated with the same spectrally selective coating as NASA spacecraft and space station windows. This blocks UV, but reduces visible light to 80%-85% depending on colour (frequency). So 85% of 43% really reduces light. Adding mirrors will double light we have to start with.

Last edited by RobertDyck (2012-12-29 09:17:41)

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#3 2012-12-28 14:35:29

Void
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Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,015

Re: Crops

Nettles did not seem desirable to me, but it looks like they have somethings to offer and in one case extreem tollerance to low lighting conditions:

http://phys.org/news/2012-12-cave-nettle-china.html

I can't say if the species found above has all of the desirable characteristics mentioned below, but tollerance to .04% would be extreemly useful if that is the correct number.  I don't know what the growth rates would be.  Probabbly very slow in that lighting.  Still of great interest I think.

Whatever means this plant has to do that would be useful if transferable to other plants.  Particularly if the plants were to be grown in undergrounds such as lava tubes under artificial light.

Quote:

The plants do not grow in complete darkness but do grow in extremely low light levels, deep within the entrance caverns of the caves (sometimes, in as little as 0.04% full sunlight).


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nettle#Use … of_nettles

Quotes:

Much historical evidence of use of nettles in medicine, folk remedies, cooking and fibre production relate to one species - Urtica dioica, but a fair amount also refers to the use of Urtica urens, the small nettle, which is preferred because it has more stinging hairs per leaf area than the more common species.[citation needed] It may be inappropriate and probably inaccurate to assume that all nettles exhibit similar properties in all cases, but where an action can be attributed to principles found in the species, such as histamine, choline, formic acid and silica, a rational basis for their use is still available.[citation needed] However, the fact that a medical action can be attributed to a single constituent does not imply that the entire plant will have the same action.

Arthritic joints were traditionally treated by whipping the joint with a branch of stinging nettles. The theory was that it stimulated the adrenals and thus reduced swelling and pain in the joint. Various studies support the effectiveness of this treatment.[2][3]

Various types of Nettle have been studied for their effects on prostate hypertrophy, diabetes mellitus, rheumatic disease, hypertension, gastrointestinal symptoms, osteoarthritis, diarrhea, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation, pain,[4] constipation, gastrointestinal disease, headache, nausea, common cold, arthritis, asthma, bleeding, respiratory tract disease, allergic rhinitis, kidney disease, prostate cancer, skin disease and urinary tract disease.[5][verification needed][unreliable source?] In terms of allergies, nettle contains properties of an antihistamine to be used for treating reactions associated with the respiratory system.[6][unreliable source?] Nettles can also be used to make a tisane known as "nettle tea".


Prehistoric use:
Fabric woven of nettle fiber has been found in burial sites dating back to the Bronze Age.[7]


Safety:
Though the fresh leaves can cause painful stings and acute urticaria, these are rarely seriously harmful. A possible exception is the Urtica ferox, the ongaonga or tree nettle of New Zealand. Otherwise most species of nettles are extremely safe and some are even eaten as vegetables after being steamed.[14]

Medicine, cloths, and maybe even food.  That seems useful.

Last edited by Void (2012-12-28 14:42:58)


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

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#4 2012-12-28 15:02:17

RobertDyck
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Re: Crops

Quinoa - high protein grain

My sister suggested we grow quinoa on Mars. She's into self-sufficiency, and has a bag of this grain. It's big advantage is amino acids are balanced.

Soy (aka soybean) has more protein, but it's not a "complete protein". I put that in quotation marks, because that's how people normally say it. Actually beans do have all amino acids, the problem is they aren't balanced; proportion of one vs another is not what humans require. Rice also is said to be "not a complete protein", but again it does have all amino acids, just not the right proportions. A common means of dealing with this is to cook dishes that mix beans with rice, aminos one is lacking are in the other. A common Cuban dish is "moros", black beans and rice. Black beans are second in protein to soy, and black beans produce the least flatulence.

But Quinoa has aminos in balance all by itself. And it's a grain, not a legume. Quoting from Wikipedia:

Quinoa (pron.: /ˈkiːnwɑː/ or /kɨˈnoʊ.ə/, Spanish: quinua, from Quechua: kinwa), a species of goosefoot (Chenopodium), is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. It is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal, or grain, as it is not a member of the true grass family. As a chenopod, quinoa is closely related to species such as beets, spinach and tumbleweeds.

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)

Energy 1,539 kJ (368 kcal)
Carbohydrates 64 g
- Starch 52 g
- Dietary fibre 7 g
Fat 6 g
- polyunsaturated 3.3 g
Protein 14 g
- Tryptophan 0.167 g
- Threonine 0.421 g
- Isoleucine 0.504 g
- Leucine 0.840 g
- Lysine 0.766 g
- Methionine 0.309 g
- Cystine 0.203 g
- Phenylalanine 0.593 g
- Tyrosine 0.267 g
- Valine 0.594 g
- Arginine 1.091 g
- Histidine 0.407 g
- Alanine 0.588 g
- Aspartic acid 1.134 g
- Glutamic acid 1.865 g
- Glycine 0.694 g
- Proline 0.773 g
- Serine 0.567 g
Water 13 g
Thiamine (vit. B1) 0.36 mg (31%)
Riboflavin (vit. B2) 0.32 mg (27%)
Vitamin B6 0.5 mg (38%)
Folate (vit. B9) 184 μg (46%)
Calcium 36 mg (4%)
Iron 4.6 mg (35%)
Magnesium 197 mg (55%)
Phosphorus 457 mg (65%)
Potassium 563 mg (12%)
Zinc 3.1 mg (33%)
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

Processing:

If quinoa has not been rinsed, the first step is to remove the saponins, a process that requires rinsing the quinoa in ample running water for several minutes in either a fine strainer or a cheesecloth.
Quinoa in its natural state has a coating of bitter-tasting saponins, making it unpalatable. Most quinoa sold commercially in North America has been processed to remove this coating. This bitterness has beneficial effects during cultivation, as the plant is unpopular with birds and therefore requires minimal protection.

Preparation:

One cooking method is to treat quinoa much like rice, bringing two cups (or less) of water to a boil with one cup of grain, covering at a low simmer and cooking for 10–15 minutes or until the germ separates from the seed. The cooked germ looks like a tiny curl and should have a slight bite to it (like al dente pasta). As an alternative, one can use a rice cooker to prepare quinoa, treating it just like white rice (for both cooking cycle and water amounts).

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#5 2012-12-28 17:41:37

Void
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Re: Crops

That looks like a good one.  I read up on it a bit.


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

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#6 2012-12-29 04:18:51

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,646

Re: Crops

I favour buckwheat for early missions.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckwheat

This is a quick-growing plant that you can harvest within 10-11 weeks.  You can use it to make breads, pancakes, porridge, soups etc Its protein content is highly nutritious as it contains all the main amino acids. I can vouch for the fact that buckwheat pancakes (known as gallettes in France) are v. tasty. Also important - they can be prepared within a matter of minutes. However I think the batter mix normally requires egg and milk so you might have to make that up from imported powders, or seek plant substitutes.


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#7 2012-12-29 05:08:09

louis
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From: UK
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Posts: 5,646

Re: Crops

Re the buckwheat and need for milk, I see that oat milk - made purely from oats and water - makes a good subsitute for milk.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#8 2012-12-29 11:42:06

Void
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Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,015

Re: Crops

I have moved some items from another thread I posted to:
Food:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salicornia_europaea
Cooking oil, fuel:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salicornia_bigelovii
Edible, Remove salt from soils?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atriplex
Salt water tollerant rice, small fish compatible?
http://blog.jove.com/2012/05/24/japanes … ccelerator

These all tilt twords salty soil, I presume that salt could become an issue for some farming methods.
Also, if it is ever possible to procure water from an aquifer, I am inclined to think that that would be salty water.

Another reason for working with these would be that during the terraformation process, any early wet areas would likely be salty.  Any streams would likely end in a temporary pool which would be salty.  By working with these plants in pressurized
greenhouses, the opportunity would exist to selectively breed and/or genetically modify these to be even more acclimated
to a projection of what an early farmable environment would be.


I like people who criticize angels dancing on a pinhead.  I also like it when angels dance on my pinhead.

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#9 2013-01-02 08:33:35

Glandu
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From: France
Registered: 2011-11-23
Posts: 106

Re: Crops

IMHO, we need some variation. I'd get crazy eating the same quinoa morning, noon & evening. OTOH, alternating with Buckweat or other things would do wonders for my morale.

Guys there will have a tough life.


"I promise not to exclude from consideration any idea based on its source, but to consider ideas across schools and heritages in order to find the ones that best suit the current situation." (Alistair Cockburn, Oath of Non-Allegiance)

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#10 2013-01-02 14:10:18

RobertDyck
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Re: Crops

Quite a variety is possible. And early settlers on Mars will require variety, for exactly those reasons. It will be a long time before we can afford to send livestock. It is possible to send livestock, but difficult. But it takes several pounds of animal feed (fodder) to produce a single pound of meat, and that fodder is the same food humans eat, just less processed. So it's more efficient for settlers to eat the vegetables/grain themselves. It will be a long time before Mars can afford livestock. So initially Mars will be vegan, not for any philosophical reasons, but just because it's practical. I'll list some foods I recommend, but lets start with the obvious:

* Soy -- obvious reasons, we need protein
This can be processed in many ways. Look at grocery store shelves, there's soy milk, veggie ground round (vegan hamburger), veggie burgers, hotdogs and brats, facon (fake bacon), veggie Canadian bacon, veggie pepperoni (sliced for pizza), deli slices, breakfast patties, strips that can be used for chef salad or fajita. The latest are veggie meatballs, and sausage with Mexican spices called Chorizo.

I look at this company's website. We need all this stuff on Mars:
http://www.yvesveggie.com/index.php

There's even soybean vegetable oil used for cooking, and I've done experiments making soap from that. I used 100% soybean cooking oil, castor oil, and sodium hydroxide (lye). It works. Castor oil is to make it more firm, it comes from a bean that grows on a shrub. The result is fairly soft, about the consistency of soft margarine, but after a few months becomes a bar. It cleans very well, like any other soap.

And there's margarine. You can make margarine from various vegetable oils, but we need soy anyway so why not use soybean oil? To see what that's like, just look for 100% soybean margarine in your grocery store.

There's even vegan cheese. Various varieties, and they appear to have different recipes. Most commonly they're made from soy.

Yup: wheat for pizza crust, tomatoes for sauce, soy for shredded mozzarella, and soy for pepperoni slices. Add some green peppers and you have a nice pizza.

Last edited by RobertDyck (2013-01-02 15:18:54)

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#11 2013-01-02 15:18:36

RobertDyck
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Re: Crops

In my last post I asked if mushrooms will grow without manure. That's because there's a mushroom farm in the city a few miles from my home. If the wind blows from the south, I smell the composting chicken manure. Wind is usually from the west, but we can sure tell when it changes. Loveday Mushroom Farms believes in composting their manure outdoors, on a concrete pad.

But I found a website about growing your own mushrooms. They don't even mention manure. They say straw is a versatile and common substrate, as is sawdust. You just have to boil it to kill competing microorganisms first. Ok, that's a great way to turn what would otherwise be plant waste into usable food. So who likes mushrooms on pizza?
http://www.mushroom-appreciation.com/gr … rooms.html

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#12 2013-01-04 08:26:38

RobertDyck
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Re: Crops

Going through the list of ingredients for products from Yves Veggie, the guys who make soy products to replace meat.

Plants:
wheat
barley
soy
onion
guar
beet
sugar beet (handles cold growing conditions better than sugarcane)
garlic
lemon
tapioca (from the plant Cassava)
parsley
sesame
Irish moss (aka carrageenan moss) - carrageenan
potato
konjac
corn
pea
carrot
pear, apple, plum (only used for their Meatless Beef Burgers)
Locust bean (aka Carob tree) - replace with guar?
flax (source of omega-3)
black pepper (grows on a vine)

Minerals:
salt
dipotassium phosphate
dimagnesium phosphate
ferric orthophosphate
zinc oxide
iron oxide & reduced iron

Bacteria/yeast/mold produced vitamins:
citric acid (from the mould Aspergillus niger, grown on sugar by-products)
cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12) (from bacteria)
thiamin hydrochloride (vitamin B1)
riboflavin (vitamin B2)
niacinamide (vitamin B3)
calcium pantothenate (vitamin B5)

Last edited by RobertDyck (2013-01-05 20:43:52)

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#13 2013-01-04 21:24:32

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
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Re: Crops

Average wheat consumption per capita varies a lot from country to country. This includes bread, pasta, and other uses. It's about 100kg per person per year. Wheat yield in Canada is 3 tons per acre in Quebec, higher in Ontario and lower in Prarie provinces. With current varieties of wheat, 6% must be saved as seed for the next crop. Calculating, that works out to about 0.632 kg/m^2 usable. So for 12 people, that requires 1898 m^2. But in Canada "spring wheat" is planted from May to June, and harvested from August to October. That's 3 to 4 months from planting to harvest. In a heated greenhouse there isn't any winter, so 3 crops per year are possible. That reduces area to 632.75 m^2. The original estimate has more than +/-10% margin, so round that off to 600 square metres. Just for wheat.

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#14 2013-01-04 22:08:29

RobertDyck
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Re: Crops

Black Pepper: North Americans consume 1/4 pound per year. Yield for a full-grown mature plant is 1.8-2.3kg each harvest season. About 11,230 kg/ha of green berries, which converts to 3,140 kg/ha of dried white pepper or about 3,930 kg/ha of dried black pepper. So working that out for 12 people: 3.5 square metres.

In cultivation, the plant is grown on a support such as a trellis. It may grow to a length of 10 m (33 ft) or more in length. During the third year after planting, a small crop can be harvested, with full production realized 7–8 years after planting. Plants are most productive at 8–20 years of age, but can continue bearing for 30 years. Ripe berries may be picked about 9 months after flowering. Berries ripen over a period of 2–6 months depending on climate or latitude. Berries are usually harvested every 7–14 days during the harvesting period.

http://kitchenrap.blogspot.ca/2011/10/b … -gold.html
http://www.agroforestry.net/scps/Black_ … y_crop.pdf

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#15 2013-01-05 03:28:19

RobertDyck
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Re: Crops

Barley is needed to make some meat substitutes. Barley can also be used for soup, and other uses. It can be fermented for beer, but NASA doesn't want to hear that. I don't know how much is required for meat substitutes, so I'm going to again use per capita consumption. US statistics (US this time) are 0.7 pounds per capita per year. Production in Canada is about 3.3 tons per hectare. (Interesting, that's "ton", not metric "tonne". Yet land area is hectare, not acre.) Anyway, working that out for 12 people is 3.81 kg per year. Yield is 0.29937 kg/m^2. Assume 6% is seed for the next crop. Then production requires 13.5 square metres.

That's a lot less crop area than wheat. Let's assume our Mars settlers are not beer drinkers.

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#16 2013-01-05 13:02:04

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
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Re: Crops

Sugar: The average American consumption of sugar was 100 pounds per year in 2012. Sugar beets are capable of giving root yield of 40 tonnes or so per hectare at 15.5 - 18% sugar content, giving 6 -7 tonnes of sugar per hectare. The linked article shows 40.3 t/ha for Ireland, 74.3 t/ha for France. Let's be generous and say 60 t/ha but at the lower sugar content, giving 9 t/ha or 0.9 kg/m^2. For 12 people that's 544.31 kg per year, so 604.78982 m^2. Round that off to 600 m^2. That's a lot; in fact that's as much greenhouse area as wheat.

http://articles.businessinsider.com/201 … a-american
http://www.ienica.net/crops/sugarbeet.htm

100kg fresh sugar beet can give 12 - 15kg sucrose, 3.5kg molasses, 4.5kg dried pulp and varying amounts of filter cake.
Molasses can be added to white sugar to make brown sugar, or with less molasses to make golden yellow sugar. The article says pulp use used as fertilizer, but pulp can be used to grow the mould Aspergillus niger. That's how you produce citric acid.

There is an alternative for white sugar, but it won't produce molasses or pulp. Elsewhere I argued for in-vitro chloroplast device, which uses chloroplasts harvested from leaves of peas. To get viable chloroplasts, leaves have to be harvested 14 days after germination. After that large lumps of starch form that destroy chloroplasts when you attempt to isolate them. So the plants have to be grown specifically for this purpose, not as a by-product of pea production. In-vitro chloroplasts are kept in a sterile transparent plastic bag. Illuminated with sunlight, filtered to remove UV. Chloroplasts convert CO2 and water into O2 and carbohydrate. This is great for life support, and produces pure carbohydrate. Normal pea chloroplasts produce pea starch. Plants could be genetically modified to produce sugar. After all, chloroplasts produce sugar, which is then polymerized to form starch. Just don't polymerize. We would have 2 varieties of pea: one has chloroplasts that produce starch, the other sugar. In-vitro chloroplasts will only last so long, but actively adding CO2 and removing O2 will extend their viability. And peas can be genetically modified, adding genes from cyanobacteria, to recycle 2-Phospho-Glycolate. Plants do this partially in the chloroplast, partially in peroxisome and mitochondria. Cyanobacteria do it all on their own, and have 3 pathways for this; plants have just 1. Chloroplasts are degenerate cyanobacteria with 85% of the genes of cyanobacteria. Add genes for all 3 the recycling pathways, and to the pea chromosome that's used to make a chloroplast plasmid. This variety of pea should have reduced photorespiration, allowing it to grow faster. Whether it does or not, it would be the source of chloroplasts for our life support system.

Producing white sugar this way would reduce the need for sugar beets. We would still need some for molasses, brown and yellow sugar, and pulp for citric acid.

One use of yellow sugar is pancake syrup: 2 cups yellow sugar, 1 cup boiling water, 1/2 teaspoon artificial maple extract. When measuring yellow sugar, it is "packed"; meaning it's pressed into the measuring cup. This minimizes air. This recipe produces 2 cups syrup.

In the 1700s an average person consumed 4 pounds sugar per year. In 1912 it was 15 to 20 pounds per year. So how much do we plan for? Shall we say 2 kg (4.4 pounds) per year per person from sugar beets? The rest would be white sugar from in-vitro chloroplasts. And plan for 2 crops per year in a greenhouse. That reduces greenhouse area for 12 people to 13 square metres.

Last edited by RobertDyck (2013-01-07 23:19:35)

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#17 2013-01-05 13:32:09

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
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Re: Crops

Pancake syrup and imitation maple extract:

When I was a kid my mother made pancake syrup in the kitchen, using a recipe on the back of a bottle of artificial maple extract. It's just 2 cups golden yellow sugar, packed, and one cup boiling water. She heated the mixture in a small pot on the stove, but I found I can mix them right in the measuring cup. It's amazing to pour boiling water into a 2 cup measure filled and packed with sugar. The level doesn't rise. Pour the boiling water in slowly, stirring with a spoon as you do. The sugar will dissolve; resulting syrup will be the same volume as the packed sugar. And to make it "maple", add 1/2 teaspoon of artificial maple extract.

This raises the question of how to make artificial or imitation maple extract. I found this...
http://www.ehow.com/how_6752890_make-im … tract.html

It's made from fenugreek. Read the article, it's clear and concise. But to summarize: warm seeds (do not roast), grind in a coffee grinder, soak in vodka for 3 months, strain through fine cheesecloth. Add 1 tablespoon vanilla extract. 2 oz fenugreek seeds, 4 fluid oz vodka, makes 4.5 fluid oz imitation maple extract. That's enough for 27 batches of pancake syrup, at 2 cups (500ml) each.

Yield of fenugreek on average is 1500 kg/ha. For 12 people would 27 bottles of pancake syrup per year be plenty? That requires 2 oz of seeds, or 0.0567 kg. That requires 0.378 square metres of greenhouse space. That's 4 square feet.

http://www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca/Defaul … 0a55af3586

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#18 2013-01-05 14:26:57

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
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Re: Crops

Vanilla:

Most vanilla extract is artificial. It can be made from "brown liquor", a by-product of the sulphite process for making wood pulp. But on Mars trees have to be grown in a greenhouse. Vanillin can be made from cloves, but why? Today it's primarily made from guaiacol, which is derived from wood creosote. Or from guaiacum, slow-growing shrubs. This sounds like we may as well grow vanilla bean. Real vanilla beans produce flavour that is more rich and subtle, so just grow the real plant. It's an orchid vine. The primary work is hand pollinating, because the particular bee that's its natural pollinator only exists in Mexico.

Here's how to make vanilla extract at home. Again soaked in vodka.
http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/ho … a_extract/

Yield is about 500 kg cured bean per acre. So we don't need much. The above recipe calls for 3 "beans" and 1 cup vodka. There are 85 to 100 vanilla beans per pound. Using the smaller number of beans, that's 28 cups of vanilla extract per pound of beans. You probably only need 1/2 cup per year for all 12 people. Sounds like one vine would do. A single vine can produce 100 flowers, but usually 20. The vine can grow 35 metres.
http://www.orchidsasia.com/vanillaplants.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanilla_(genus)

90px-Vanilla_plantation_in_shader_dsc01168.jpg

Last edited by RobertDyck (2013-01-07 22:37:47)

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#19 2013-01-09 17:56:05

RobertDyck
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Re: Crops

Soybean yield in the US is about 40 bushels per acre. Veggie burgers and other meat substitutes are made from textured soy protein. One tonne of defatted soybean flakes will yield about 750kg (0.75 tonne) of soy protein concentrate. Another website states the rule of thumb is 48 lb/bu soybean meal, plus 11 lb/bu oil. This is 1440 pounds soy protein per acre, plus 440 pounds oil. Each Yves meatless beef burger is 75g, with 14% protein, while soybean meal is about 44% protein, or about 23.86g soybean meal. If each Mars settler consumes equivalent of 3 burgers per day (breakfast, lunch,  dinner) then 858.96g soy protein per day. Multiply by 365.25 days per year, equals 313.73514kg = 691.66759 pounds per year. That requires 0.480 acres = 1,943.80516 square metres. Round off to 2 significant figures = 1,900 m^2. That would produce 95.798708544 kg of oil per year. At 0.9165 g/mL that equals 104.5 litres. That's a decent amount.

That's rather large. The US national average yield for 2010, in metric, was 2.5 tonnes per hectare. But one farmer in Missouri achieved 10.8 tonnes per hectare. So with fertilizer and a lot of care, we can significantly increase yield. To be conservative, let's say we double the US average: recalculate with 5 tonnes per hectare. Plus a heated greenhouse can have more than one crop per year. Planting season in Manitoba, Canada, is May 15-25, harvest in late fall. Just a single crop pushes the limits of climate up here. But a heated greenhouse on Mars should be able to harvest 2 crops per year. So all together we should be able to cut greenhouse area to 1/4.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soybean
http://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/crops/ … 01s01.html

So there's the figure. Greenhouse area: 475 m^2

Last edited by RobertDyck (2013-01-10 16:46:10)

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#20 2013-01-10 15:11:39

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,646

Re: Crops

Lots of good ideas there.

I think in reality, for the first few missions, much of the food will be imported as energy bars, vacuum packed meals, frozen meals, and dried food stuffs.

Food growing will initially be experimental along the lines of the "salad bars" in Antarctic stations.

Gradually the amount of imported food will reduce but until animal husbandry is introduced, we will still import lots of food.

I think guinea pig and rabbit farming could be the first animal farming introduced. Then maybe goats.


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#21 2013-03-18 23:12:50

Void
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Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,015

Re: Crops

If animal food is also considered, I would go ahead and work with cold blooded water animals. 

If salt water, then from the polar areas, though generally slow growing, requiring water quite cold.

But not restricted to cold water, if you add more heat and deal with greater pressures for the enclosure.

Cold blooded animals require less food for their biological budget, I think quite a lot less, and so also likely would consume less Oxygen.

Shellfish, and fish I suppose.

Another point being that it is possible to power something like that not only from sunlight, but from chemicals, simulating a cold Methane seep. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_seep

This process of obtaining energy from chemicals is known as chemosynthesis.[3]


A mussel bed at the edge of the brine pool.During this initial stage, when methane is relatively abundant, dense mussel beds also form near the cold seep.[3] Mostly composed of species in the genus Bathymodiolus, these mussels do not directly consume food.[3] Instead, they are nourished by symbiotic bacteria that also produce energy from methane, similar to their relatives that form mats.[3] Chemosynthetic bivalves are prominent constituents of the fauna of cold seeps and are represented in that setting by five families: Solemyidae, Lucinidae, Vesicomyidae, Thyasiridae and Mytilidae.[5]

This microbial activity produces calcium carbonate (Ca C O3), which is deposited on the seafloor and forms a layer of rock

I don't know how edible those are, but it is worth investigation I would think.

The calcium carbonate might be an objective in it's self.


220px-Noaamussels_600A_musselNearBrinePoolExpLophelia_II_2010.jpg

A mussel bed at the edge of the brine pool

The Microbes that feed the filter feeders could run variously from such sources.  When the sunlight was more seasonalbly available, then tilt the exosystem to that, and otherwise tilt it to being chemical driven.

The tanks where the animals were kept could be relatively pressurized, and if desired less pressurized tanks could foster the microbial population.

This could be convieniently done by having a tank inside of a tank.  More or less a enclosed pond with cold water where the algae, and microbes that feed on chemicals would be multiplied.  At temperatures +/- 5 degrees.  Therefore, a vapor pressure not much more than Martian ambient.  Therefore the dome holding the pressure and vapor pressure could be substantially minimal.

As for the animal tank, put that down about 33 feet in the water, (That is about 330 mb pressure) saturate it's water with disolved gasses of O2 and N2, warm it to foster animal growth.

If other organisms that do not have bacterial in them that harvest energy from Methane:

There would be two mehods to get the microbes from the cold water to the animal tank.  Either they would have to be filtered out in a fine filter, and back flushed into the warm tank, or if you had solar concentrating mirrors the water could be pumped from the bigger cold tank during the day, warmed, and then pumped into the animal tank.

As for harvesting the animals, I guess if it is shellfish, a robot could do that.  If it is fish, perhaps a duct would allow them to circulate to a holding tank where humans could be present.

I would think this would occur at higher lattitudes where there is lots of ice, but maybe if an aquafer were available at lower lattitudes, then that way.

Another alternative is reptiles.  They also being cold blooded.  Vegitarian Iguana's?

Last edited by Void (2013-03-18 23:29:33)


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#22 2013-03-22 21:20:19

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
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Re: Crops

Mussels are definately edible. Calcium carbonate is a dietary source of calcium, but only if consumed with vitamin D. If you eat calcium carbonate without vitamin D, it will not dissolve into your blood, just pass right through into your shit. That's why milk (and milk products like cheese) have vitamin D. Calcium carbonate is not an energy source for humans, just calcium.

Energy efficiency of food production is an issue. Producing metane requires a lot of energy. This food can grow in cold, and in fluctuating temperature; that is novel. But how much energy per unit of food energy? That is, how many watts of electricity are required to produce one calorie of food?

True, cold blooded animals convert more of their food energy into tissue. They consume less for body temperature regulation. In fact, birds do regulate body temperature, but consume a lot less to maintain that than mamals. That means chickens and turkeys require less feed per pound of meat than cattle or pigs. That's why chicken meat is less expensive than beef.

Others have suggested a fish called talapia. They're already produced via aquaculture, so how to raise them is already known. They consume scraps, grow fast, mature quickly, tollerate high stocking density, and poor water quality. They eat plants and algae, so they'll clean any algae that grows in their tank. And plant material from food crops, things we don't eat like stems and leaves, can be dumped in their tank as food. Not everything, but again what they eat is already known.

But any sort of fish tank, whether talapia or mussel, requires a lot of water. That depends on finding a landing location with plenty of water. We know it's there, but need to find the right location: easy to land upon (flat, smooth), low altitude (lots of atmosphere for radiation shielding), "tropical" latitude (between the northern and southern tropic, to keep winter temperature relatively mild), and lots of water (underground water ice or permafrost). You also need plenty of resources: hematite concretions for iron ore, concentrated patches of bytownite for aluminum ore, and fertile soil with potassium for the greenhouse. Silica sand would be nice for glass if you can find it, but can be produced as a byproduct from bytownite. And you need a reason to be there. Ironically, science is best served by rough terrain, often in conflict with a good landing site. A couple interesting sites: Mawrth Vallis, or Utopia Planetia. The first is a dried-up river delta that fed into the northern ocean, the second is the bottom of the ancient ocean.

Back to food. I proposed a vegan diet to keep the first settlement simple. All sorts of livestock can be added later.

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#23 2013-03-23 20:18:07

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,646

Re: Crops

RobertDyck wrote:

Mussels are definately edible. Calcium carbonate is a dietary source of calcium, but only if consumed with vitamin D. If you eat calcium carbonate without vitamin D, it will not dissolve into your blood, just pass right through into your shit. That's why milk (and milk products like cheese) have vitamin D. Calcium carbonate is not an energy source for humans, just calcium.

Energy efficiency of food production is an issue. Producing metane requires a lot of energy. This food can grow in cold, and in fluctuating temperature; that is novel. But how much energy per unit of food energy? That is, how many watts of electricity are required to produce one calorie of food?

True, cold blooded animals convert more of their food energy into tissue. They consume less for body temperature regulation. In fact, birds do regulate body temperature, but consume a lot less to maintain that than mamals. That means chickens and turkeys require less feed per pound of meat than cattle or pigs. That's why chicken meat is less expensive than beef.

Others have suggested a fish called talapia. They're already produced via aquaculture, so how to raise them is already known. They consume scraps, grow fast, mature quickly, tollerate high stocking density, and poor water quality. They eat plants and algae, so they'll clean any algae that grows in their tank. And plant material from food crops, things we don't eat like stems and leaves, can be dumped in their tank as food. Not everything, but again what they eat is already known.

But any sort of fish tank, whether talapia or mussel, requires a lot of water. That depends on finding a landing location with plenty of water. We know it's there, but need to find the right location: easy to land upon (flat, smooth), low altitude (lots of atmosphere for radiation shielding), "tropical" latitude (between the northern and southern tropic, to keep winter temperature relatively mild), and lots of water (underground water ice or permafrost). You also need plenty of resources: hematite concretions for iron ore, concentrated patches of bytownite for aluminum ore, and fertile soil with potassium for the greenhouse. Silica sand would be nice for glass if you can find it, but can be produced as a byproduct from bytownite. And you need a reason to be there. Ironically, science is best served by rough terrain, often in conflict with a good landing site. A couple interesting sites: Mawrth Vallis, or Utopia Planetia. The first is a dried-up river delta that fed into the northern ocean, the second is the bottom of the ancient ocean.

Back to food. I proposed a vegan diet to keep the first settlement simple. All sorts of livestock can be added later.

I used to think shell fish would be a good food option but someone pointed out just how much fresh [sea/salt] water you required to grow a mussel. It was a lot!

If you don't have the fresh water supply you are just asking for incubating disease.


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#24 2013-03-24 08:05:02

Void
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Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,015

Re: Crops

I am glad to get a helpful caution from your studies.  I consider your understanding to be better than mine for this case for sure.  (Although it is now mine also).

For myself however, I would like to keep it as an open possibility, with the understanding that such difaculties would have to be answered to in an actually functional way.  (Which may in the end make it not workable).

I will counter argue even so, for the hope of further discovery.

I will see your point the filter feeders which use a lot of water to get a small amount of ditritus and small organisms must be open to infections to a high degree.  So, actually, I am going to bow on that one and suggest that barring a scheme not presently apparent, that is the least feasable.

I will make a special case for the the ones that use chemosynthisis however, in symbiosis with embedded bacteria.

I can see a case where a primary pool is a more fresh water, with or without transparent structures above to allow in sunlight.
It would actually be easier to have this pool dark, and a covering of non-transparent materials.

I then see the idea of having salt water tanks inside of this "Lake", down perhaps 33 or more feet.  Henry,s law:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry's_law

The point being that the main pool, the fresher pool could be at about 0 degC or 32 degF with a vapor pressure of perhaps 6 mb.

An enclosure could be assisted by a layer of ice, where the top of the ice could be quite a bit lower than freezing, down to the average ambient of the local climate, which is presently quite cold.  Therefore the evaporation pressure from the top layer of ice would be much below the ambient pressure.  It would still be possible for a wind of dry air in the daytime to evaporate this ice, so a protective material should also be deployed above the ice.

If this enclosure were accomplished, the movement of robot actuators and even well protected humans is not out of the question. 

So having put salt water tanks into this "Lake", it would also be possible to disolve Methane, Oxygen, and Nitrogen into the salt water of the tanks at a pressure of perhaps 330 mb or more.  This might support organisms that can use this for an energy source.

The main point is that each salt water tank could be isolated (In this case), and the physical barriers, and the barrier of fresh water might controll epidemics of parasites of the shellfish, making it possible to make a profit.  If desired, the fresh water could be very defficient in Oxygen, further inhibiting the kind of parasites that might infect shellfish from propagating to each of the salt water tanks.

It would fit into the needs to make fuels and Oxydizers.  One method of rockets, vehicles, and for some types of food.

I have not certainty that the particular shellfish can be cultivated this way or if they are edible.

Therefore I consider it an open item requiring further research, and proving.

I am not wild about animal cultivation, but I am also not a vegitarian, so for survival it might be an asset I would further consider, along with the cultivation of mushrooms and other forms that can run on chemical/organic sources.

I also make the alternate point that the Iguana's could be considered:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galapagos_land_iguana

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marine_iguana

Some will be horrified by such a use of a proteced species, but I don't consider it any more wrong that chickens, just as long as you do not damage the wild populations.  In fact it would be a further protection of the species.

The fact that the Marine variety can dive into cooler water and eat algea is convenient.

However any such enclosure would have to provide sufficient pressure, Oxygen, warmpth.  The water can be cool, but they might need "Dog Houses" with sunlamps some of the time.

Last edited by Void (2013-03-24 08:16:15)


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#25 2013-03-24 15:37:06

GW Johnson
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From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 3,819
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Re: Crops

Question: 

Why build an enclosure over these aquaculture pools?  Why not just build them deep,  let them freeze over,  and cover the ice with perhaps a meter of bulldozed regolith to stop sublimation? 

In the liquid pools underneath,  the water pressure under the ice-plus-regolith should be high enough to scuba-dive safely on pure oxygen in an ordinary wet suit.  Just rig some underwater sunlamps with some UV content,  and grow all manner of aquatic crop plants and aquatic/water-breathing animals.  Do some pools as fresh water,  others salty.  There is plenty of both (water-as-ice and evaporite salts) on Mars. 

These aquaculture habitats would be a complement to some sort of pressure-dome buildings on the surface,  where one could grow a variety of dry-land crops and raise dry-land animals (and live).  I think a glassed-in mushroom shape is the best way to maximize local materials in construction,  while providing a reliable pressure vessel to contain the atmosphere inside.  These could be quite large,  actually. 

I have articles discussing engineering materials,  requirements, and approaches for design analyses for both kinds of such habitats,  plus some structural requirements derived for the classic clear domes of science fiction,  all posted over at "exrocketman".  Shorten your scroll-down search by using the keyword "Mars",  and then you'll see those pretty quickly. 

GW


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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