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#401 2017-01-02 20:31:13

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 29,092

Re: Crops

The life support items with in the habitat would have this recycling system in place but using a simular system as put forth for processing the water extracted from soil, regolith ice brime concentration would be the way to utilize this in making water for the greenhouse....

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#402 2017-01-02 20:38:51

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
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Re: Crops

Lake Matthew Team-Cole;

You're thinking about technology far beyond what the FirstMars pioneers will be using. The processing equipment you have envisioned will all come from Earth, or by Mars manufacture after the basics are covered. Unfortunately I don't have an autoCAD  program available to me now. I'm trying to come up with a simple solution to a complex problem of running the supply streams and waste streams of the colony. I'm not wishing to get out my drafting stuff and do this all by hand, but if that's what it takes--so be it. I'm still in the conceptualization stage, but what you are thinking is years ahead of where the first few ships filled with long term residents need to be.

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#403 2017-01-02 20:54:03

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
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Re: Crops

Oldfart1939 wrote:

My specialty was Photochemistry, and specifically the interaction of light with living systems: Chemistry of Vision and Photosynthesis. I did a 2 year PostDoc at the University of California, Santa Cruz on an NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship through the National Eye Institute. I subsequently spent a year at Stanford as a Research Associate, non teaching faculty standing.

Then you are qualified to help me with this: Chloroplast life support
Please at least read it.

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#404 2017-01-02 20:54:07

Lake Matthew Team - Cole
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Re: Crops

Risky Business

RobertDyck wrote:

I do still consider soil agriculture on Mars to be less risk than hydroponics. If you're still afraid of "unknowns" then hide under your bed. Mars is about learning stuff, not being scared of learning new "unknowns".

I hope that sort of inappropriate guff doesn't discourage anyone from speaking his mind here. 

And RobertDyck, I'd be glad to see a short abstract of your assessment of the top risks, and top challenges, of martian hydroponics vs. conventional soil gardening.

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#405 2017-01-02 21:05:41

Oldfart1939
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Posts: 2,405

Re: Crops

What I'm attempting to do is have a basic model developed by which agriculture and husbandry can hit the ground running so the psychological and emotional needs of the first settlers/pioneers on Mars are met so they don't go berserk over the crappy diet. My idea is to go through and selectively choose projects which have a high probability of success. I read one of Robert's posts about fruit trees being incorporated into the system. I agree wholeheartedly, but trees take time to grow, and usually after around 5 Earth years do we get any production. I envision intensive gardening and crop production, and since trees produce above ground, they are certainly a way to go. The areas beneath the trees, if fully illuminated, can be filled with vegetable or grain crops. Root crops can be interspersed with bush crops, which can be compatible with tree crops. But nothing will work without bees for pollination.

Many humans are in need of pets for some psychological support, so care of the animals gives some mental health assistance.

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#406 2017-01-02 21:16:34

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
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Re: Crops

Robert-

Your idea definitely has merit, but a better person to contact would be my old Postdoctoral mentor now at Montana State University, in Bozeman , Montana. He did his Ph.D. under Mel Calvin at University of California, Berkeley, CA., and was a topnotch photosynthesis guy.
He's now a Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, himself. Send me a personal e-mail message through the forum and I'll give you his name. The guy whose papers you should be reading about incorporation of proteins or cellular organelles into membranes is Wayne L. Hubbel; I had a chance to collaborate with him whilst he too was at UCB. Last I heard, he may have gone on to Rockefeller University in N.Y.C.

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#407 2017-01-02 21:18:04

Lake Matthew Team - Cole
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Re: Crops

Oldfart1939 wrote:

You're thinking about technology far beyond what the FirstMars pioneers will be using. The processing equipment you have envisioned will all come from Earth, or by Mars manufacture after the basics are covered.

ZLD is just water treatment.  How would you expect the crews to treat raw freshwater or brine, anyway?  It's a core task requiring efficient, reliable tech.  ZLD seems appropriate.

And when you consider the fact that ZLD output gives a series of useful fertilizers, well, I don't know why you'd design a Mars greenhouse - even the first greenhouse - without it.

Last edited by Lake Matthew Team - Cole (2017-01-02 21:19:37)

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#408 2017-01-02 21:29:26

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 2,405

Re: Crops

Lake Matthew Team-Cole

I'm not saying that it's not a good system. Just the amount of mass required seems to be excessive for the early efforts at colonization. Your system would be 2nd Generation technology.

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#409 2017-01-02 21:45:28

Lake Matthew Team - Cole
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Re: Crops

ZLD

Oldfart1939 wrote:

I'm not saying that it's not a good system. Just the amount of mass required seems to be excessive for the early efforts at colonization. Your system would be 2nd Generation technology.

?  This little ZLD unit processes 24,000 liters per day.  Fits on a flatbed. 

You might consider the tech and its uses, before diving into those greenhouse process flows.  Could save some time and trouble.

5323c6e4-ce61-404b-b3c0-08f23ed31ec9-large.jpeg

Last edited by Lake Matthew Team - Cole (2017-01-02 21:53:29)

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#410 2017-01-02 21:55:00

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
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Re: Crops

SpaceNut wrote:

trying to keep topics going on the narrow title and initial posts but its up to that poster to also help guide the conversation as well.

Could we move the discussion of hydroponics vs soil to the discussion thread created for that purpose? I created that discussion thread 4½ years ago.
Greenhouse - hydroponics vs soil

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#411 2017-01-02 22:10:48

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 29,092

Re: Crops

RobertDyck wrote:
SpaceNut wrote:

trying to keep topics going on the narrow title and initial posts but its up to that poster to also help guide the conversation as well.

Could we move the discussion of hydroponics vs soil to the discussion thread created for that purpose? I created that discussion thread 4½ years ago.
Greenhouse - hydroponics vs soil

Will copy the posts from a page back that are not on topic for crops....

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#412 2017-01-02 22:25:59

Lake Matthew Team - Cole
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Registered: 2016-12-21
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Re: Crops

post removed and placed in previous posts topic link

Trying to steer topic back to just the crop and only the crops

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#413 2017-01-04 13:52:29

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 2,405

Re: Crops

At the risk of again "Re-inventing the wheel," I'm listing some considerations upon which crop selection should (indeed, must!) be based:
(1) Caloric production, the primary need in any diet.
(2) Vitamin & Mineral content: Essential Nutrients for health.
(3) Taste.
(4) Ease of growth.
(5) Scalability. Can scale of production be increased as need grows?

We can then proceed to sort by means of growth:
(1) Garden crops.
(2) Bush crops.
(3) Tree crops.
(4) Field crops.

Since we have not yet Terraformed Mars, we are essentially stuck with greenhouse scale agriculture, and the first few missions will undoubtedly concentrate efforts on Garden crops and begin some Bush and possible Tree crops. For purposes of this post, I'm limiting things to Garden crops, which will for the most part, be experimental on the first couple missions, and until a really substantial greenhouse is constructed.

Garden crops may be further subdivided into several growth patterns:

(1) Root crops.
(2) Vine crops.
(3) Greens (whole above surface portions edible).
(4) Bushy plants, which generally constitute most gardened species.

Examination of these by growth type:

Root crops:
(1) Potatoes.
(2) Sweet potatoes or Yams.
(3) Radishes.
(4) Carrots.
(5) Beets.
(6) Turnips & Rutabagas.

Vine crops.
(1) Cucumbers.
(2) Melons.
(3) Winter squash.
(4) Peas.
(5) Beans.

Greens
(1) Cabbages.
(2) Lettuce.
(3) Chard.
(4) Celery.
(5) Kohlrabi.
(6) Radicchio.
(7) Endive.

Bushy crops.
(1) Green beans.
(2) Pinto beans.
(3) Tomatoes.
(4) Peppers.
(5) Kiwi fruit.
(6) Yellow straightneck/crookneck squash.
(7) Zucchini squash.
(8) Patty pan squash.
(9) Strawberries.

I've included several varieties in more than one growth habitat, since in the case of beans and peas, both bush and pole varieties exist.

I'm simply suggesting that we examine these as possibilities for nutrition and ease of growing. Let the slings and arrows begin...

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#414 2017-01-04 21:45:47

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
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Re: Crops

As I posted last page, my ideas are summarized by a couple previous posts. I started with crops, but as some people pointed out we need a menu. So I came up with this. It's similar to your list, and certainly not complete. Glad to see someone else.

Menu: Click here

Greenhouse area: Click here

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#415 2017-01-04 22:33:50

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 2,405

Re: Crops

Robert-

My list is by no means complete either, but instead of a menu, we need some on-Mars experimental gardens in order to see which crops can be grown successfully. One of my concerns regards crops requiring pollination, and that means bees. I contacted one of my old friends, an anthropologist who specialized in the Sherpas of Nepal. She lived for 5 year in the village of Rolwaling at > 12,000 feet msl. The question I posed to her was what did they grow at that altitude, which could be something similar to the greenhouse atmosphere. She commented that they mostly grew potatoes and huge radishes. In the past, they grew a Tibetian Barley. And there were virtually NO flying insects at that altitude. In the Colorado Rockies, I've seen bees at 10,000 feet and there are plenty of flowers and berry bushes (raspberries), as well as strawberry plants. Both require pollination.

This would seem to place different restrictions on the greenhouse atmospheric density than some have suggested, since bees need enough to fly. Either that, or strictly root crops and leafy vegetables; no beans, squash, melons, peas, tomatoes, peppers, etc.

Last edited by Oldfart1939 (2017-01-04 22:35:27)

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#416 2017-01-04 22:46:11

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 29,092

Re: Crops

http://www.altitude.org/air_pressure.php

http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/air-a … d_462.html

elevation_altitude_air_pressure.png

Earth Altitude with Equivalent Pressure to Mars

■ Hellas Planitia: 1,155 pascals (11.5 millibars)
■ 11.5 millibars ⇒ 30.125 km = 98,350 feet

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#417 2017-01-04 23:26:59

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
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Re: Crops

Well, when I participated in the Mars Homestead project, the guys wanted much higher pressure in the hab. Robert Zubrin argued for the same pressure as Apollo and Skylab. That was 5 psi, 60% O2, 40% N2 by volume. That is 3 psi partial pressure O2, and 2 psi partial pressure N2. I found a formula for divers for decompression. And Apollo had started with intent for 3.3 psi total pressure pure O2 in suits. One argument is the suit could suffer 10% pressure loss and astronauts could still breathe. Astronauts launched from KSC so aclimated to sea level. At sea level partial pressure O2 is 3.0 psi. They increased it by the time Apollo actually flew in space. I argued for 3 psi pure O2 in an MCP suit, and drop partial pressure O2 to 2.7 psi in the hab. With lower pressure suits, there is less counter force to bend joints. So it's easier to move. High altitude training takes 6 weeks to 3 months, but a transit to Mars in a free return trajectory takes 6 months, so they will have plenty of time to acclimate. Besides, Boulder Colorado has 2.5 psi partial pressure O2, so at most Mars Society conventions we were breathing less O2 than I propose for Mars. Using the diving formula, maximum N2 in the hab for zero pre-breathe time to 3.0 psi total suit pressure, that works out to 3.6 psi partial pressure N2. Then add argon with the same ratio as Mars atmosphere, which makes harvesting N2 and Ar easy. Viking 2 lander reported 2.7% N2, 1.6% Ar. Modern rovers report slightly different, but the greatest difference is CO2 concentration. Mars weather is dominated by CO2, it freeze to dry ice at the winter pole, sublimates with spring. So using Viking 2 data, that works out to 2.13333 psi Ar. There's a maximum partial pressure Ar for zero-prebreathe, but this is well below that. Add 2.7 psi O2 + 3.6 psi N2 + 2.13333 psi Ar = 8.43333 psi total. That's maximum, you could inch down diluent gas a bit. Converting to metric, that works out to 581.457634 millibar total habitat pressure. You could round that down to 580 mbar; again a little less diluent gas.

How would bees fare in more O2 than Boulder Colorado? Air density will be less than Boulder, but gravity will be 38%. A pressure-altitude calculator says 580 mbar works out to 14640.9 feet. But again this air mix will have more O2 than Boulder, and lower gravity.

You could give a greenhouse slightly different air than the habitat, but for a small base I want to keep them the same. So settlers can just walk from the hab to the greenhouse. It extends their living space, and walking in green growing plants is good for most people's psyche. Hmm, bees, safety. Way back in 2005 one member wanted desserts, so I looked at what it takes to grow cocoa trees. Obviously a luxury item for a slightly later phase of settlement. Their pollinator is biting midges. Was thinking of a short tunnel between the greenhouse for cocoa trees to the rest of the hab, with slight negative pressure. So it would create a breeze along the tunnel into the greenhouse. Just with fans and filters to return air to the hab. The reason was so midges couldn't fly out; a human could walk through the breeze, but it would suck midges back in. Midges fly so slow that a brisk walk can out pace them. Bees fly better, would require a stiffer breeze. Could that work?

Last edited by RobertDyck (2017-01-05 09:00:14)

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#418 2017-01-05 05:57:02

Terraformer
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From: Ceres
Registered: 2007-08-27
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Re: Crops

Unless the bees are Africanised, I don't think we really need to worry about safety. They don't tend to attack people.

If we're using root vegetables as our staple food (boil 'em, mash 'em, stick 'em in a stew...), we don't need bees. Perhaps we could have most of our greenhouse space be ~100mb, with some gardens as part of the main hab where we grow fruits? To grow tomatoes in the main greenhouse, we'll have to add in artificial wind, but it should be doable?


"I'm gonna die surrounded by the biggest idiots in the galaxy." - If this forum was a Mars Colony

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#419 2017-01-05 10:54:57

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 2,405

Re: Crops

I did a Google search on bees and altitude; was very surprised at the results!

http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/20 … ists-find/

The University of Wyoming has been conducting research in this area, so habitat pressures and densities could be lower than I'd imagined. The issue is really the availability of food for them, and not altitude. A variety Apis Laboriosa, the Himalayan bee, lives at 14,000 feet msl in the Himalayas, produces a dark red honey that is said to contain "intoxicants." Also the honey is very expensive.

Last edited by Oldfart1939 (2017-01-05 11:02:03)

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#420 2017-01-05 11:37:34

Terraformer
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From: Ceres
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Re: Crops

14,000 feet? The air pressure is only ~60 kPa at that point. Given the lower gravity, it would seem that bees could handle a greenhouse at ~200mb pressure, if it was 60% oxygen.


"I'm gonna die surrounded by the biggest idiots in the galaxy." - If this forum was a Mars Colony

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#421 2017-01-05 19:05:58

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 29,092

Re: Crops

The bee question and crop requiring them can be found at this link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_c … ed_by_bees But it does appear that we can do without them for these crops http://homeguides.sfgate.com/pollinate- … 58916.html
Which really means that we should be able to use this process on other plants as well.....
You can always sacrifice a few plants to push the pollin from one onto the other through brushing the flowers against the others moving the sacrificed plant as far as you think it can go before needing another to continue to pollinate the others....

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#422 2017-01-05 19:33:34

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 2,405

Re: Crops

There are several berry crops which are self fertile: Gooseberries, Black Currants, and Red Currants. Black Currants are extremely good producers of Vitamin C, in addition to being great for making jelly and jam.

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#423 2017-01-06 10:04:48

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 7,821
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Re: Crops

Oldfart1939 wrote:

A variety Apis Laboriosa, the Himalayan bee, lives at 14,000 feet msl in the Himalayas, produces a dark red honey that is said to contain "intoxicants." Also the honey is very expensive.

I wonder what their food is. Bees drink nectar from flowers, they regurgitate that nectar in cells of honeycomb. Then use their wings to create a draft over the nectar to dehydrate it. Their stomach adds an antibacterial agent, but honey is mostly concentrated nectar from flowers. Clover honey tastes different than buckwheat honey, or blueberry honey, etc. So what flower is the source of that dark red honey?

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#424 2017-01-06 11:07:01

elderflower
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Registered: 2016-06-19
Posts: 1,262

Re: Crops

Maybe Rhododendrons, Robert. They live high in the Himalayas.
I suspect that these were the large, aggressive bees that were featured in a TV programme a couple of years back, with local guys abseiling down over the edges of rock overhangs and knocking the combs down using long poles. If these are the bees in question you might want to consider a smaller, less aggressive variety- or an alternative insect type such as hoverflies or bumble bees. This wont deliver honey, but you wont need apiculture skills such as dealing with swarms.

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#425 2017-01-06 12:01:53

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 2,405

Re: Crops

Elderflower-

You are correct about the Rhododendrons as a supply of nectar for these bees. It's not that they're hyper-aggressive, but any bee is protective of the hive. There are various suppliers claiming to sell this hallucinogenic honey, and it's very expensive.

Here's a shortcut to information on this product:http://healthywithhoney.com/himalayan-red-honey-aka-mad-toxic-hallucinogenic-honey-from-nepal/

One answer to the bees requirement is simply using a higher greenhouse atmospheric pressure equivalent to 10,000 msl.

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