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#376 2016-12-29 13:08:13

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,854

Re: Crops

I don't quite see thing that way entirely. 

Firstly, we are not going to move to 100% self-sufficiency in Mars food production from the get-go.  The first missions will bring substantial food supplies from Earth.  Agriculture will initially be supplementary and so very short growing times will not be an absolute imperative. I think we will simply want to put in a place a range of crops to provide a varied and satisfying diet.

Some of the most useful first crops will probably be the salad leaf varieties.  These are already successfully grown in artificial conditions in Antarctic stations. Maybe tomatoes as well. Bean shoots grow very quickly and abundantly.

We shouldn't neglect more substantial crops though.  Buckwheat is a very useful crop that can be used to make breads and pancakes. Dwarf Buckwheat can be grown in 65 days.

We should also look at bamboo crops.  Bamboo is an incredibly useful material that can be used for numerous applications: plates, furniture, flooring, kitchen utensils, garden tools and so on.


Oldfart1939 wrote:

What we should be concentrating on for crops is a set of products which have very short times from planting to maturity, combined with maximum caloric and vitamin output. There are lots of books about farming for survival that indicate the most efficient crops for the colony situation. Turnips are a quick crop. Root crops can be co-planted alongside taller crops to make maximum use of the space available. Radishes, beets, and carrots are good sources of essential vitamins, in addition to providing taste variety. Swiss chard is a heavy producer, and is semi-perennial. The turnip greens are also a decent food. Look into short growing season hybrids developed for use in the northern tier of states and Canada. Vine squashes can be planted in conjunction with other crops too. Every square centimeter needs to be productive, both above ground and below ground. Add in sweet potatoes in place of white potatoes for variety and vitamin A production.


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

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#377 2016-12-29 15:35:55

Oldfart1939
Member
Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 1,871

Re: Crops

louis wrote:

Firstly, we are not going to move to 100% self-sufficiency in Mars food production from the get-go.  The first missions will bring substantial food supplies from Earth.  Agriculture will initially be supplementary and so very short growing times will not be an absolute imperative. I think we will simply want to put in a place a range of crops to provide a varied and satisfying diet.

Some of the most useful first crops will probably be the salad leaf varieties.  These are already successfully grown in artificial conditions in Antarctic stations. Maybe tomatoes as well. Bean shoots grow very quickly and abundantly.

We shouldn't neglect more substantial crops though.  Buckwheat is a very useful crop that can be used to make breads and pancakes. Dwarf Buckwheat can be grown in 65 days.

Buckwheat is a useful short growing season crop, as is grain sorghum. Many of these crops we've been discussing have more than one part of the plant providing usable product.

Doing the analyses as many here have done, resulted in some screwy models based on isolation from other uses of what would be "waste, or by-products." It makes very little sense to me to model in this manner; a massive flow chart of all agricultural undertakings would serve to illustrate. For example; a set of figures for chicken production was presented, but that's for a "chicken factory," or massive operation. The feed was all listed out as quantities needed for XYZ number of chickens. Grain sorghum was included in that list, as were Corn and Barley. Chicken production on Mars will NOT proceed that way, since the necessary products will be unavailable or in short supply. A lot of "human food" has concomitant "human inedibles." That can go a very long way towards cutting into the list of feeds required for chickens, cows, and swine. Looking at the big picture--flow chart and spreadsheet--will serve to get things a lot more realistically organized.
The chickens are a great species to begin with, since they are capable of two forms of food production: eggs and meat. Building some horticulture around chickens would make a good starting point. I'll spend some time building a flow chart system on a smaller initial scale and post here at a later date.

In order to accomplish a true Mars colony, there will initially need to be an emphasis on bringing in agricultural supplies, embryonic livestock or immature animals in order to save space and weight. One supply ship with skeleton crew to care for baby chicks, piglets, and calves could work, especially if crewed with the colony's agricultural team.

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#378 2016-12-29 17:33:54

Terraformer
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From: Lancashire
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,291
Website

Re: Crops

A very important thing about figuring out what to grow and what the diet would be - the bulk of this can probably be done on the sort of budget that private research can raise. Maybe not the hibernating animals, but putting together a farm and trying to survive only on it's products for a couple of years should be doable...


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#379 2016-12-29 18:39:02

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,158

Re: Crops

louis, At what level of "self-sufficiency in Mars food production" do we try to achive "from the get-go" starting with that first missions as we know that we could "bring substantial food supplies from Earth"?

Then due to the scaled back level, what should the selected crops be?

I also agree that all that we grow should not be just for food items as there is a benefit to producing woods of any type.

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#380 2016-12-29 18:53:43

Oldfart1939
Member
Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 1,871

Re: Crops

One of the questions that keeps nagging me: if we are going to Mars "to stay," then should the second Hohmann transfer window expedition  be sending a lot more than a single replacement crew and return ship? The scale of the endeavor needs to expand rapidly such as bringing an entire ship (or ships!) loaded with agricultural essentials; Ammonium Nitrate based fertilizers, especially enriched with Potassium. Also, the basics for constructing the enlarged greenhouse. It's going to take manpower and supplies to get a true base up and running. This could be accomplished with the cargo vessels by using an lower energy flight path of 8 months as opposed to the 6 month "free return" model. Send 3 or 4 cargo ships and start accumulating the supplies. Elon Musk's dreams are marvelous, but a bit fanciful in areas.

Last edited by Oldfart1939 (2016-12-29 19:35:05)

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#381 2016-12-29 21:12:58

RobertDyck
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From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,023
Website

Re: Crops

Lake Matthew Team - Cole wrote:

Hydroponics removes unknowns by simplifying the soil down to an inert substrate, such as pH-neutral rinsed sand. ...
unknowns ...
knowns is a main reason to aim for a hydroponic greenhouse ...

But am I missing something?  Is there good reason to convert sand substrate into a soil that's rich in organics, microbes, worms, etc., in this unique circumstance?

Mars doesn't have sand. Mars has soil. It doesn't have organic matter, doesn't have microbes or worms, but does have micronutrients and a lot of things required for soil. Agriculturalists say ideal soil starts with a combination of loess, sand, and clay. Fines of Mars soil are effectively loess. Mars soil also has sand and clay. So Mars soil (emphasize soil) is not sand. pH-netural rinsed sand, especially "sugar sand" which is pure silica sand, has no micronutrients. A combination of loess, sand, and clay which is Mars soil is ideal starter for soil. Then add nitrogen, potassium, organics, and of course water. You get soil. Real soil. Agricultural soil.

Hydroponics has more "unknowns" than soil. And industry to manufacture nutrient solutions for hydroponics is far more energy intensive than producing soil. One objective of a greenhouse is a life support system that will operate with zero power. So when power failure happens (Murphy's law says not if but when), then Mars settlers can continue to breathe.

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#382 2016-12-29 22:38:20

Lake Matthew Team - Cole
Member
Registered: 2016-12-21
Posts: 119
Website

Re: Crops

RobertDyck wrote:

Mars doesn't have sand.

Does have sand.

Ed3Sck0.png?17529165592428414974

RobertDyck wrote:

Hydroponics has more "unknowns" than soil.

Martian soil and dust contain some known toxins: perchlorates, chromium, silicate dust and gypsum dust come to mind.  Other toxins may exist, but have yet to be isolated.  Now, you can eliminate those known and unknown toxins, and eliminate soil variability generally, by using rinsed, inert sand as the substrate.  That is, the hydroponic substrate. 

But to your mind, does that simplification introduce more soil variability, toxins, or unknowns?

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#383 2016-12-30 00:43:23

Oldfart1939
Member
Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 1,871

Re: Crops

Lake Matthew Team-Cole- I have issues with the concept of using hydroponics. It's certainly possible for certain varieties of plants, but totally unfeasible for grain crops such as wheat, barley, oats, rye...etc. It's very difficult to harvest from hydroponic containers, at least in any quantity. I believe RobertDyck has already addressed the perchlorate issue, as perchlorates decompose upon addition of acids. We've mentioned a requirement for ammonium nitrate for Nitrogen, but a common additive to gardens in parts of the USA is Ammonium Hydrogen Sulfate. In particular, for growing Blueberries which require acidic soil. I've used the stuff as a surface dressing for my alkaline soil at my ranch. The Martian atmosphere is also a source of carbonic acid, simply by bubbling it through water and spreading on the soil. Gypsum dust is nothing other than dry Plaster of Paris, which is found at White Sands, New Mexico. Not really a toxin. Chromium in traces is an element required for proper function of the pancreas. As a rancher, I'd much rather deal with treating the regolith and conversion into a viable and fertile soil.

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#384 2016-12-30 03:59:59

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,023
Website

Re: Crops

Yes, Mars is a planet. It has a lot of variation. Yes, it has sand. One rover found white silica sand, although it was too small to make even one window. However, they found wind-blown fines are for the most part homogeneous. Minerals identified by rovers on the ground are not the same as minerals identified by remote sensing from orbiters. One paper published by the team for Mars Global Surveyor found "surface type 1" includes serpentine, while "surface type 2" includes actinolite. I hope they're not in wind-blown fines, because those are types of asbestos. Reports from the Phoenix lander did not include any asbestos, so I'm hopeful it isn't in all soil.

In 1999-2002 I was able to get highly technical data from NASA. With each new mission to Mars they have dummied-down their websites. It's hard to get technical data from NASA now.

My point is Mars "soil" isn't sand. It's soil. It doesn't have organic matter, but a mixture of loess, clay and sand is still "soil". And Mars geologists have been calling it "soil" since 2001.

So yes, 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".

And yes, the first science mission will bring food from Earth. It will include a greenhouse as an experiment. The small greenhouse of the first science mission is intended to prove agriculture on Mars works. But there will be sufficient packaged food to feed Mars astronauts should all crops fail. It's an experiment. Hopefully will provide some fresh vegetables, but the first one is not to be relied on. Permanent settlement will rely on Mars produced food, but the first science mission has to prove it works.

Last edited by RobertDyck (2017-01-01 04:43:22)

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#385 2016-12-30 10:30:14

Lake Matthew Team - Cole
Member
Registered: 2016-12-21
Posts: 119
Website

Re: Crops

Oldfart1939 wrote:

I have issues with the concept of using hydroponics. It's certainly possible for certain varieties of plants, but totally unfeasible for grain crops such as wheat, barley, oats, rye...etc. It's very difficult to harvest from hydroponic containers, at least in any quantity.

"Containers"?  That's a misapprehension.  The LMT scheme grows half-acre plots.  No containers.  It's only hydroponic because it uses inert bedding substrate.  There's no obvious need for a complex soil.  Or is there?

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#386 2016-12-30 10:34:26

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,854

Re: Crops

No, I don't agree about chickens.  Chickens represent a serious threat to human health.  Even if you manage to breed super-selected and isolated chickens I don't think you can completely avoid that possibility as various pathogens can lay dormant for a long time in animals. Chicken faeces can easily be carried on the air and in a system reliant on air pumps and artificial ventilation that just seems like asking for trouble for me. In a small colony the last thing you want is all your colonists who will likely have a compromised immune system (compromised from low gravity and the absence of general human contact) to go down with serious, rapidly spread infections.

For me, a vegetarian diet will be the key to early development of the colony. Chickens and other birds would probably be the last thing to introduce as long the colony is reliant on artificial air systems. In terms of first animals, I have said before that guinea pigs (eaten in South America) are very good candidates.


Oldfart1939 wrote:
louis wrote:

Firstly, we are not going to move to 100% self-sufficiency in Mars food production from the get-go.  The first missions will bring substantial food supplies from Earth.  Agriculture will initially be supplementary and so very short growing times will not be an absolute imperative. I think we will simply want to put in a place a range of crops to provide a varied and satisfying diet.

Some of the most useful first crops will probably be the salad leaf varieties.  These are already successfully grown in artificial conditions in Antarctic stations. Maybe tomatoes as well. Bean shoots grow very quickly and abundantly.

We shouldn't neglect more substantial crops though.  Buckwheat is a very useful crop that can be used to make breads and pancakes. Dwarf Buckwheat can be grown in 65 days.

Buckwheat is a useful short growing season crop, as is grain sorghum. Many of these crops we've been discussing have more than one part of the plant providing usable product.

Doing the analyses as many here have done, resulted in some screwy models based on isolation from other uses of what would be "waste, or by-products." It makes very little sense to me to model in this manner; a massive flow chart of all agricultural undertakings would serve to illustrate. For example; a set of figures for chicken production was presented, but that's for a "chicken factory," or massive operation. The feed was all listed out as quantities needed for XYZ number of chickens. Grain sorghum was included in that list, as were Corn and Barley. Chicken production on Mars will NOT proceed that way, since the necessary products will be unavailable or in short supply. A lot of "human food" has concomitant "human inedibles." That can go a very long way towards cutting into the list of feeds required for chickens, cows, and swine. Looking at the big picture--flow chart and spreadsheet--will serve to get things a lot more realistically organized.
The chickens are a great species to begin with, since they are capable of two forms of food production: eggs and meat. Building some horticulture around chickens would make a good starting point. I'll spend some time building a flow chart system on a smaller initial scale and post here at a later date.

In order to accomplish a true Mars colony, there will initially need to be an emphasis on bringing in agricultural supplies, embryonic livestock or immature animals in order to save space and weight. One supply ship with skeleton crew to care for baby chicks, piglets, and calves could work, especially if crewed with the colony's agricultural team.


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

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#387 2016-12-30 10:43:44

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,158

Re: Crops

Lake Matthew Team - Cole wrote:
Oldfart1939 wrote:

I have issues with the concept of using hydroponics. It's certainly possible for certain varieties of plants, but totally unfeasible for grain crops such as wheat, barley, oats, rye...etc. It's very difficult to harvest from hydroponic containers, at least in any quantity.

"Containers"?  That's a misapprehension.  The LMT scheme grows half-acre plots.  No containers.  It's only hydroponic because it uses inert bedding substrate.  There's no obvious need for a complex soil.  Or is there?

Discusion for Greenhouse - hydroponics vs soil
Which I will post my reply and literature for what Lake Matthew Team - cole is referring to....

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#388 2016-12-30 12:01:31

Oldfart1939
Member
Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 1,871

Re: Crops

I don't know how many here have actually worked in agriculture--in the real world. My involvement was strictly as an avocation, since I'm actually an Industrial and Manufacturing Chemist (now retired) professional. When my late wife and I bought a ranch in 1996, it was strictly meant to be fulfillment of a retirement dream, and neither of us realized just what we'd gotten into! Everything I know about agriculture and crop production, livestock management, raising poultry, etc., came from a fortuitous happenstance of having an excellent neighbor. It was  Dr. Cross, DVM, from whom I gained an education. He was a lifetime rancher and a brilliant veterinarian, a member of the State Board of Pharmacy, and on the State Livestock Board. If it involved animal diseases and husbandry, and I had a question--he had the answers. As a result of our friendship and his disability, I wound up attending veterinary conferences at Colorado State University, School of Veterinary Medicine.

Many of Louis' concerns are unfounded, regards chickens and pathogens. If the chickens are hatched from eggs on the trip to Mars, and from eggshells externally treated to remove all traces of Earthly diseases, the only bacterial contamination they would be exposed to would be from the animal feed provided, and exposure to humans. Veterinary medicine has come a loooong way! Trichinosis in swine has been virtually eliminated--even in Iowa "Pig Factories." This has been accomplished through widespread utilization of embryo transplants under extremely selective conditions and to sows certified disease free. I'm proposing we bring only pathogen-free livestock to Mars. The concern of airborne pathogens is based on the presence of pathogens in the first place. Each animal species would have it's own environmental enclosure, and since air recirculation is important--adequate filtration on a micron scale.

Another reason I mention the chickens is the benefit of chickensh*t, which is mostly composed of Uric Acid. Birds do not urinate, and no urea is produced. Their excretion product, Uric Acid, would be very beneficial to gardening and destruction of perchlorates in Martian soils. so--"Mary, Mary, how does your garden grow?" One heckuva lot better with Uric Acid fertilizer on Mars. This would enable even bush crops such as Blueberries, Raspberries, etc. to be grown in Mars soil.

As I mentioned earlier in this discussion, a master flow chart is needed in order to maximize utilization of EVERYTHING!

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#389 2016-12-30 12:42:46

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 3,472

Re: Crops

I have not worked in agriculture, and I appreciate people like you being here.


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

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#390 2016-12-30 16:28:32

Lake Matthew Team - Cole
Member
Registered: 2016-12-21
Posts: 119
Website

Re: Crops

Managing Greenhouse pH with Nitrogenous Fertilizers

Oldfart1939 wrote:

Another reason I mention the chickens is the benefit of chickensh*t, which is mostly composed of Uric Acid.

Urea is one of the first and easiest ECLSS extracts.  Membrane separate, sterilize, done. 

Both ECLSS urea and greenhouse plasma nitrate could be produced efficiently, using little electrical power.  The urea could complement the nitrate:  urea lowers soil pH, nitrate raises soil pH.  As envisioned in practice:  The IoT fertilizer software alters the urea/nitrate mixture for pH effect, and routes each mixture through the pump-grid "printer" to the plots, for easy pH balancing throughout the greenhouse.

They don't need the chicken uric acid.

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#391 2016-12-30 17:22:26

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,854

Re: Crops

A Mars mission is a high risk venture.  I tend to look at this as a question of minimising the risks.

Some diseases can pass from humans to birds as well as the other way round (e.g. TB), as you appear to accept,  and there is no way you can eliminate pathogens from the human body.

Leaving that aside, I just feel uneasy about all that faecal dust from chickens circulating in the air system. Why create those sorts of problems?

Since nitrogen has been found on Mars...

https://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/mars-nitrogen

...looks like we can manufacture uric acid (using water and Mars air as well) if it is really essential to agriculture.

Again, I am not sure in terms of agriculture we need to be particularly concerned about "utilising everything".  We will have abundant energy in the early colony, far more per capita than is the case on Earth (maybe 100 or 1000 times more). The key deficiency will be labour, which will need to focus on a lot of other tasks as well.  So rather than "utilising everything" the emphasis needs to be on low labour inputs - that means as much automation as possible in my view and crop growing rather than animal husbandry.






Oldfart1939 wrote:

I don't know how many here have actually worked in agriculture--in the real world. My involvement was strictly as an avocation, since I'm actually an Industrial and Manufacturing Chemist (now retired) professional. When my late wife and I bought a ranch in 1996, it was strictly meant to be fulfillment of a retirement dream, and neither of us realized just what we'd gotten into! Everything I know about agriculture and crop production, livestock management, raising poultry, etc., came from a fortuitous happenstance of having an excellent neighbor. It was  Dr. Cross, DVM, from whom I gained an education. He was a lifetime rancher and a brilliant veterinarian, a member of the State Board of Pharmacy, and on the State Livestock Board. If it involved animal diseases and husbandry, and I had a question--he had the answers. As a result of our friendship and his disability, I wound up attending veterinary conferences at Colorado State University, School of Veterinary Medicine.

Many of Louis' concerns are unfounded, regards chickens and pathogens. If the chickens are hatched from eggs on the trip to Mars, and from eggshells externally treated to remove all traces of Earthly diseases, the only bacterial contamination they would be exposed to would be from the animal feed provided, and exposure to humans. Veterinary medicine has come a loooong way! Trichinosis in swine has been virtually eliminated--even in Iowa "Pig Factories." This has been accomplished through widespread utilization of embryo transplants under extremely selective conditions and to sows certified disease free. I'm proposing we bring only pathogen-free livestock to Mars. The concern of airborne pathogens is based on the presence of pathogens in the first place. Each animal species would have it's own environmental enclosure, and since air recirculation is important--adequate filtration on a micron scale.

Another reason I mention the chickens is the benefit of chickensh*t, which is mostly composed of Uric Acid. Birds do not urinate, and no urea is produced. Their excretion product, Uric Acid, would be very beneficial to gardening and destruction of perchlorates in Martian soils. so--"Mary, Mary, how does your garden grow?" One heckuva lot better with Uric Acid fertilizer on Mars. This would enable even bush crops such as Blueberries, Raspberries, etc. to be grown in Mars soil.

As I mentioned earlier in this discussion, a master flow chart is needed in order to maximize utilization of EVERYTHING!


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

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#392 2016-12-30 18:59:56

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,158

Re: Crops

louis wrote:

We will have abundant energy in the early colony, far more per capita than is the case on Earth (maybe 100 or 1000 times more).

Not to pick but what century is this happening as we can not even deliver a whole person yet...with life sustaining supplies....

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#393 2017-01-01 23:06:41

Oldfart1939
Member
Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 1,871

Re: Crops

SpaceNut wrote:

Not to pick but what century is this happening as we can not even deliver a whole person yet...with life sustaining supplies....

When my wife and I were getting started in ranching and my dad was still alive, he was fond of telling us stories about his childhood on a farm in Illinois. His comments about how they utilized a hog that they had butchered and how they used "everything but the squeal." That's the way things will have to be done on Mars for the colonists to succeed. Use of vegetable plant byproducts  (chopped stalks and humanly inedible leaves  and roots) for animal feeds, and animal wastes (chickenshit, cow manure, sheep manure, swine manure, etc.) for fertilizer/soil conditioner to grow crops. Everything will have to be kept as low tech as possible--initially.

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#394 2017-01-02 09:52:20

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,023
Website

Re: Crops

Yes, everything will have to be used. We did that when I was a child, and my financial position right now is pretty bad. A little better in the last month and a half, but still tight.

But you have operated a farm. My grandparents on both sides were farmers, and we had a large vegetable garden when I grew up. My father's family had a wheat farm. My great grandparents had a mixed farm with cows and hogs and chickens, and horses for labour because that was before tractors. But my grandfather chose to specialize in wheat, with a tractor combine etc. They had 6 quarter sections. My mother's family was different, she grew up on a farm that wasn't successful. They grew potatoes and vegetables and raised chickens. But my grandfather really became a success when he built houses.

Part of the point is now realize what we're talking about. Imagine a group of 12 or 24 people living on Mars. They have to mine, smelt, refine, and manufacture everything from scratch. They have to make cement from rock. Mine hematite concretions for iron ore. Mine anorthite or bytownite for aluminum ore. Rovers haven't found enough white sand to make a single window, so the source of glass will be a byproduct of producing aluminum. You have to make glass panes for greenhouse windows. If you want to use a hard plastic instead, realize it has to be scratch resistant so dust/sand storms don't leave windows so scratched they're practically opaque. You have to treat soil to make it arable. And you have to manufacture your own fertilizer. You have to make your own hoe and shovel. This small group has to make everything.

You raised livestock. You know that a plastic film greenhouse will not contain them. They require a barn, or other hard wall enclosure. Now re-read the the above paragraph. Now much manufacturing materials for that will take. You have to grow fodder. And I use the term from when I was a child. "Feed" is the verb form of "food", it doesn't mean food for livestock. The English language word for food for livestock is "fodder". I get annoyed by people in the 21st century who call that "feed". But this Mars barn has to recycle air, and recycle manure and urine. You the farmer have to build all that. And you the farmer have to build the equipment. And you the farmer have to mine ores as material to make all that.

There are some who talked about goats to eat stalks and leaves and other crop parts that humans can't. But you should have an idea what keeping goats is like. Some want guinnea pigs, because they're a lot smaller and less trouble. That's true, but do they eat anything other than grass? How much left-over plant material can they consume?

This is why I argue for a vegan diet. Not permanently, just initially when the settlement is small.

Last edited by RobertDyck (2017-01-02 20:26:44)

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#395 2017-01-02 12:08:38

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 5,854

Re: Crops

Well Musk is looking to get humans there in 2022 if all goes well.  So I talking this century.  The average household doesn't use that much energy - probably around 100 KwHs per day, if we are including heating.  Double or triple that again for the energy that is used elswhere in transport, offices, shops and factories. Let's say 300 KwH.  So at least half that for a per person measure = 150KwH per day. 

I think Musk will send people to Mars with a much larger energy allowance thatn 150KwH per sol - that would probably be only the equivalent of about 75 Square metres of PV panelling: 8.6 x 8.6 metres. 

Of course, the Mars colonists won't be watching large screen TVs, driving cars around all the time, running washing machines all the time, living in draughty houses or cooking meals in ovens for several hours.  In other words they will have a lot of energy left over for indoor agriculture, and ISRU experimentation.

SpaceNut wrote:
louis wrote:

We will have abundant energy in the early colony, far more per capita than is the case on Earth (maybe 100 or 1000 times more).

Not to pick but what century is this happening as we can not even deliver a whole person yet...with life sustaining supplies....


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

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#396 2017-01-02 12:29:24

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,158

Re: Crops

Nailing done the first greenhouse size, shape and mass demensions, for what appears to be possible soil/ sand hybrid hyroponic plant food delivery seems to be the way we are talking about going but these are all based on what food crops we need to be growing of which we do not have a consolidated list as of this moment.

To do this still means this is a menu augmentation to what we bring rather than a sustainable farm which is what we want in the end run....but we need to start with something to create surplus food and this will do.

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#397 2017-01-02 13:48:53

Oldfart1939
Member
Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 1,871

Re: Crops

There are many quotable posts above, but instead of filling up pages with previous comments, I'm simply going to make reference in passing. I've commented several times that a real "chemical engineering" type process flow sheet needs to be developed for all the planning. I'll get started on that sometime this week. We may want to begin a new thread which consolidates much of what is contained in the "Hydroponics" thread, "Materials" thread, "chickens," "swine," etc. since these are not stand alone topics, but interact within the broad spectrum of ideas which have been presented. In reality, there will be process flow charts in different eras of the settlement/colonization time lines. What I believe we should do is start at...The Beginning!

But as Robert has pointed out in his above post, the construction of greenhouses will have a top priority for the initial mostly vegan diet, followed by more substantial structures for handling varieties of husbandry (poultry, livestock, aquaculture, etc.).

I'll begin by filling in my background so everyone understands my "take" on things.
I began my university career at the University of Colorado, Boulder and majoring in Aeronautical Engineering; after about 2 years I began having some family and financial issues which started impacting my academics, and I left school. In that time frame, it meant no Draft deferments, so I spent 3 years in the U.S. Army as a Medic. After discharge, I was fortunate the U.S. Government had just started the Vietnam Era GI bill, which enabled me to return to school. It's difficult to pick up in engineering after a 3+ year layoff, so completed my degree in Chemistry. After a year in the Chemical Industry, I returned to school and completed a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry at the University of Wyoming, Laramie. 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. I had made a few connections with some other entrepreneurial motivated guys and began a business doing custom organic synthesis of various biochemical compounds, which morphed into a concentration in the field of endocrinology and peptides. A divorce put an end to that venture, but a new girlfriend, also a chemist, and I began a new business which was quite successful in the field of polymer supported organic synthesis and manufacture of the beaded polystyrene supports (Merrifield Resins, and related). My new gal and I married and moved to Wyoming because industrial property was cheap. No state income tax, either. We bought a ranch in 1996 for our planned retirement, and I entered another "educational experience," learning how to irrigate hay meadows, operate the necessary machinery to harvest and bale hay for the herd of cattle we started, rising to ~ 100 cows by 2002. By 2005, the impact of China on U.S. manufacturing caused me to sell our business and become a consultant to the company which purchased it, and devote more time to ranching. By 2007, illness reached out it's ugly hand to my wife, and finally took her in 2010.

I'm fully appreciative of this opportunity to utilize my 55+ years of experience in a combination of chemical manufacturing and agriculture to colonizing Mars. I read Dr. Zubrin's book, The case for Mars, in 2009. I am very motivated to do whatever I can to further what I view as the greatest adventure and undertaking of mankind in the history of the world.

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#398 2017-01-02 18:41:24

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 19,158

Re: Crops

The merge and move post function just are not as easy to use in this incarnation of software that we are using but I hear you and am 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. The consolidation use to be done via the wiki pages which we were creating from the topics but they are gone since the 2008 crash of the web sites sql database.
Nice background that augments many of the others that are here posting all the time...including my own which is in electronics....and more.

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#399 2017-01-02 20:01:07

Lake Matthew Team - Cole
Member
Registered: 2016-12-21
Posts: 119
Website

Re: Crops

Flow

Oldfart1939 wrote:

...a real "chemical engineering" type process flow sheet needs to be developed...

Would it make sense to start with a high-level ZLD water flow chart?  Many of the greenhouse's essential products, starting with water itself, could be made efficiently by a ZLD plant.  A water flow chart concisely relates the various ZLD solution inputs, outputs, devices and modes, with brief annotations and maybe color-coding.  Example:  Figure 3.  Water Flow Chart

Some of the ideas we've discussed at NMF have already been implemented commercially in ZLD plants.  For example, perchlorate removal - so important to Mars regolith/brine treatment - is actually a well-known commercial process:  insert an electrodialysis stack into the ZLD chain and the problem is solved.  Adding each vital component to the ZLD water flow chart, where appropriate, could pull NMF ideas together, and in a form that's easily communicated.

After, something similar might be done for the gas/cryogenic plant, and perhaps the ECLSS plant (which might be too complex for more than a partial chart of the most vital ECLSS flows).

Last edited by Lake Matthew Team - Cole (2017-01-02 20:04:17)

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#400 2017-01-02 20:22:40

RobertDyck
Moderator
From: Winnipeg, Canada
Registered: 2002-08-20
Posts: 6,023
Website

Re: Crops

Some older posts within this discussion thread:

Menu: Click here

Greenhouse area: Click here

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