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#26 2018-10-27 14:24:32

jfenciso
Member
From: Philippines
Registered: 2018-10-27
Posts: 89
Website

Re: Possible timelines for martian agriculture?

This topic is interesting. I will try to make a paper on this topic. smile


I'm Jayson from the Philippines. Graduate of Master of Science in Botany at the University of the Philippines Los Baños, Laguna. I am specializing in Plant Physiology, and have a minor degree in Agronomy. My research interests are Phytoremediation, Plant-Microbe Interaction, Plant Nutrition, and Plant Stress Physiology.

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#27 2018-10-27 17:09:14

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 27,185

Re: Possible timelines for martian agriculture?

Reading back though just the 1 page of the topic and looking at the title its a bit thin on what, where and when for how we will bring agriculture to mars. Maybe with all the other collective topics there is something to be created from all of what we are discusing...

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#28 2018-10-27 17:41:19

louis
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From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 7,208

Re: Possible timelines for martian agriculture?

One thing I would say is that many here are probably underestimating the amount of continued importation of food from Earth.  It's just so much easier than putting in place ISRU agriculture and there are many more urgent ISRU priorities (construction, energy generation, propellant production and so on).  To feed 1000 people you need about 550 tonnes of food per Earth year.  A lot of that could be imported as dried foods, to be mixed with water on Mars.  So let's say you could probably get the amount of food importation down to 400 tonnes per annum or 800 tonnes every two year launch cycle. 

It's a lot of cargo but if you are going to put in place an agricultural infrastructure you will have to devote a lot of resources both labour, habitat and equipment. So the overall resource cost of putting in place agricultural infrastructure which really is not revenue generating at all is high.  It makes more sense really to create the infrastructure for hosting research and science experimentation, for collecting and returning regolith, meteorites etc, or mounting expeditions that attract commercial sponsorship - all the things that generate revenue.

But if we do go down the ISRU crop growing route I think we will begin with artificially lit hydroponic farming in windowless facilities.


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

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#29 2018-10-27 18:25:48

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 27,185

Re: Possible timelines for martian agriculture?

That is a huge amount when estimating for such a large work force....Trade the bodies for equipment plus energy sources and the numbers can go up later when you have the infrastructure built to support them.

Make use of everything that you send to mars as many times as possible in order to reduce the need. Canabalize the ships that will never return and make use of all of it to build.....

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#30 2018-10-27 23:03:13

Oldfart1939
Member
Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 2,311

Re: Possible timelines for martian agriculture?

For basic food consumption and doing a reasonable amount of physical labor in a Sol, a human needs about 2% of their body weight in food, excluding drinking water. This is fully reconstituted dehydrated food or fresh or frozen. My body weight is 200 pounds; therefore I need to eat 4 pounds of food in order to do physical labor and not lose weight. So--for a 500 day mission on Mars before return to Earth per the Mars Direct mission profile, I need to have 2000 pounds of food. Multiply that by the estimated crew size of the research station, ranging from a low estimate of 7 to as high as 25 over the first few Hohmann transfer windows, we need to have in place upwards of 50,000 pounds of available food. Let's say we use large quantities of dehydrated foods such as rice, split peas, beans, etc. we should be able to halve that weight requiring transport to Mars. Being even more frugal about fresh or whole foods we can then round off to 10,000 kg or 10 metric Tonnes. My prior architecture required a 100 % reserve in case problems arose in either evacuation of the colony, failure of resupply, return to Earth, etc. None of us would care to resemble Mark Watney after eating only potatoes for a year, would we? In planning this great adventure we cannot be miserly about feeding our crews.

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#31 2018-10-28 00:34:48

jfenciso
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From: Philippines
Registered: 2018-10-27
Posts: 89
Website

Re: Possible timelines for martian agriculture?

SpaceNut wrote:

Reading back though just the 1 page of the topic and looking at the title its a bit thin on what, where and when for how we will bring agriculture to mars. Maybe with all the other collective topics there is something to be created from all of what we are discusing...

What I mean, I will make a mini-review paper. big_smile


I'm Jayson from the Philippines. Graduate of Master of Science in Botany at the University of the Philippines Los Baños, Laguna. I am specializing in Plant Physiology, and have a minor degree in Agronomy. My research interests are Phytoremediation, Plant-Microbe Interaction, Plant Nutrition, and Plant Stress Physiology.

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#32 2022-05-03 09:35:11

Mars_B4_Moon
Member
Registered: 2006-03-23
Posts: 4,796

Re: Possible timelines for martian agriculture?

Moon Costs?
'Our study on the cost of building lunar landing pads is now available here'
https://twitter.com/DrPhiltill/status/1 … 4462224385

Food production and general overview of the Martian settlement.
https://sites.google.com/view/estepona-on-mars/accueil

Carbon dioxide is an important part of the air on Earth and in space. What is carbon dioxide? How is it measured? How can it affect us mentally and physically?
https://letstalkscience.ca/educational- … and-on-iss

Last edited by Mars_B4_Moon (2022-05-03 09:39:41)

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#33 2022-09-01 04:24:11

Mars_B4_Moon
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Registered: 2006-03-23
Posts: 4,796

Re: Possible timelines for martian agriculture?

Perhaps AI Diggers, machine humanoid and Farmer Robots will set the pace for farming and building of first colony

A Breakthrough In Plasma Tech Will Help Us Thrive On Mars. Life on the deadly Red Planet just got a little easier.
https://medium.com/predict/a-breakthrou … dec6805184
By feeding the rich carbon dioxide Martian atmosphere into this plasma, you get a copious amount of oxygen and carbon monoxide (carbon monoxide has a double bond between the carbon and oxygen, which requires a different “tuning” of plasma to break). Although this new gas mix has a high oxygen concentration, it isn’t suitable to breathe due to carbon monoxide’s deadliness. So we need to separate it.

One way to do this is through fractional distillation. This is when you chill the gases until they are liquid and separate them out by their different condensation temperatures. But this method is bulky, inefficient, and not suited to the low-pressure environment of Mars. So instead, the scientists used a conductive membrane. You see, oxygen is a diatomic atom, meaning it forms bonds with itself and exists as a pair of oxygen atoms. But oxygen’s electrons can choose which atom they orbit. So, in the presence of a magnetic field, the electrons move to one side, turning the pair of atoms into a mini magnet with a positive and negative end, which are weakly attracted to the magnetic field (a property known as paramagnetism). The conductive membrane uses this to attract and separate the oxygen from this gas mixture to provide us with pure oxygen.

Because we evolved in the Earth’s 78% nitrogen atmosphere, we can’t breathe pure oxygen either. But luckily, this device (mainly the conductive membrane) can be tuned to extract the nitrogen available in the Martian atmosphere. So this one device could provide near-perfect breathable air for us.

Now, we already have a device on Mars that does this. MOXIE is currently attached to NASA’s Perseverance, and its sole job is to try to produce oxygen from the Martian atmosphere. But it weighs 17kg and takes a whopping 300 W’s to yield 10g of oxygen per hour, which is only enough to keep one human functional, and can’t produce nitrogen. In contrast, this plasma-based system could produce a similar amount of oxygen while only needing 20 W of power and weighing far less. This means that Martian astronauts could use a small battery, solar array, and a compact version of this plasma device to give them a practically limitless supply of oxygen while out researching, which would be a considerable increase in safety conditions for these intrepid explorers.

Using this device to provide their base with breathable air would also increase safety. These Mars bases will have very limited energy resources, which means that having a lower power life support device like this could save lives if something goes wrong. Furthermore, its lightweight nature means they can bring more supplies with them, allowing for more experiments to take place or for more backup equipment to be packed.

But this is only one aspect of this plasma technology. It can do far more.

For example, waste carbon monoxide can be reused to create building materials, radio shielding, and even rocket fuel. If you rerun this device with the carbon monoxide (which is far less efficient), you get even more oxygen and raw carbon. This raw carbon can be used to build robust and lightweight structures, enabling the base to be expanded upon. Sadly, raw carbon isn’t a good radiation shield, meaning these expanded bases would be bathed in deadly radiation. But a particular type of carbon called carbon nanotubes is an excellent radiation shield, particularly when paired with electropolymers. For decades, this exotic form of carbon has been nearly impossible for us to build with any consistency, quality, or quantity. But advances in the development of synthetic DNA are making headway, allowing us to construct these complex molecules with relative ease. So, in theory, the raw carbon from this technology can be used to build safe shelters on Mars.


The Martian farmer growing your air such as Algae, Trees and Food farming?


Astronauts Might Be Able To Farm On Mars One Day Thanks To A Secret Ingredient: Alfalfa
https://www.forbes.com/sites/ariannajoh … t-alfalfa/
Funded by Dr. Vijayapalani Paramasivan – a scientist at ISU – part of the research explored how turnips grow in simulated Martian soil derived from volcanoes called basaltic regolith soil, in comparison to regular garden soil. Unsurprisingly, the garden soil was a better bet for growing food: it had more nutrients and other properties than the “Martian” soil. Although when watered with fresh water, turnip seeds in the simulated soil germinated 7% more than those in garden soil, the growth of the turnips was stunted and far more unhealthy compared to the garden soil.
These results meant that future astronauts are going to need some kind of fertilizer in order to farm on Mars. According to Kasiviswanathan, alfalfa has long been used as a biofertilizer on Earth, so they grew turnips, radishes and lettuce in “Martian” soil in which they’d also grown alfalfa and watered with fresh water. This alfalfa treatment saw exponential growth in all three plants: the turnips saw a 190% growth increase, the biomass of radishes increased by 311% and the biomass of lettuce leaves went up by 79% compared to the untreated simulated soil.
“The main idea behind this project is to be able to integrate two simulated Martian conditions, analyze the effect of these conditions on plant growth, and provide treatments for sustainable plant growth,” Kasiviswanathan told Forbes.

'EcoLogicStudio uses algae to purify air inside enclosed playground for children'
https://www.dezeen.com/2021/09/27/algae … hitecture/

The  52 glass bioreactors contain a total of 468 litres of living green chlorella sp. algae cultures. This can filter 200 litres of polluted air per minute, the designers claim, meaning the algae can purify all the air inside the 283-cubic-metre structure in a 24-hour period.

Last edited by Mars_B4_Moon (2022-09-01 04:24:45)

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#34 2022-09-01 06:29:30

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 12,757

Re: Possible timelines for martian agriculture?

For Mars_B4_Moon re #33 .... What a collection!

SearchTerm:Plasma oxygen nitrogen generator
SearchTerm:Agriculture
SearchTerm:carbon nanotubes synthetic DNA

Whoever you're quoting there is surely an optimist.

(th)

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#35 2022-09-01 09:48:32

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 5,380

Re: Possible timelines for martian agriculture?

Multiple pathways to process the raw results of the plasma process to "Decompose" CO2, probably exist.  One path would be biological, and another would be to use solar thermal.

Biological:
https://newatlas.com/biology/air-eating … ica-artic/
Quote:

This phenomenon is known as atmospheric chemosynthesis.

And now in a follow-up study, the team has found that this ability may not be limited to Antarctica. The researchers found that the two genes previously linked to atmospheric chemosynthesis are abundant in soil in two other similar environments – the Arctic and the Tibetan Plateau.

There is every reason to believe that life found out how to do this a very long time ago.

Something like it exists in the bark of trees.  Trees pull Methane out of the ground and microbes eat it in the trees bark, presumably using Oxygen available.

This is a bit related: https://news.mit.edu/2022/great-oxygena … robes-0314
Quote:

MIT News | Massachusetts Institute of Technology
SUBSCRIBETO MIT NEWS NEWSLETTER
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Enter keywords to search for news articles:
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Microbes and minerals may have set off Earth’s oxygenation
Scientists propose a new mechanism by which oxygen may have first built up in the atmosphere
Jennifer Chu | MIT News Office
Publication Date:March 14, 2022

One process I think might work is to take the raw output from the Plasma, CO and O2, and dissolve it into water reservoirs, and provide microbes to facilitate chemical actions.  However, the minerals in the enclosure could also be involved.

You would also want to include some Nitrogen from the Martian atmosphere, presuming a path to its use were to become existent.

First thinking may suppose that the microbes would consume all the CO and O2, and the result would be CO2, again and the Nitrogen you also introduced.  But the Microbes have to build Hydrocarbons in their bodies.  So, they will keep some of the Carbon and will have to get Hydrogen from the water they are in.

So, some of the possible sources of O2 would be, what you injected, what is in the H20 that the microbes extract Hydrogen from, and possibly Oxygen from the Minerals in the water impoundment.  This would leave an excess of Oxygen, unless all of the biomass of the microbes were then Oxidized.  Even then if some Oxygen is coming from minerals there would still be excess Oxygen.

So, this process would be simplified as you would not have to purposely separate the O2 and CO from the output of decomposed CO2 from the Plasma process.

The remnant gasses would likely contain lots of Oxygen, but maybe too much CO2, and perhaps still too much CO.  Not sure.  But then it might be entirely suitable for cryogenic processing or membranes.  Cryogenic would likely be able to pull out the CO2.  You might scrub out the remnant CO, with yet another stage of microbial consumption.  Eating CO and Breathing a part of the O2.

And you also would get biomass, which may be of some use.  As for the minerals preferred, it is possible that Martian soil, which may include perchlorates would work well in some cases, for some microbes.

Not sure, but this may even be a way to make iron in those soils reduced, and perhaps even magnetic, so that magnetic separation could be applied.

The CO is after all a reducing agent, and microbes that "Breath" Rocks and Perchlorates might do the job.

Solar Thermal is obvious:

You separate the CO from the Oxygen by some means, and then push it and water steam into a very hot oven.  Probably powered by a multitude of heliostats.  This should result in Hydrocarbons, and CO2.

If you then have this syngas, there are ways to extract Hydrogen from it, I believe.

https://news.mit.edu/2022/great-oxygena … robes-0314
Quote:

Steam-methane reforming
Steam-methane reforming is a widely used method of commercial hydrogen production Steam-methane reforming currently accounts for nearly all commercially produced hydrogen in the United States. Commercial hydrogen producers and petroleum refineries use steam-methane reforming to separate hydrogen atoms from carbon atoms in methane (CH 4).

In order to have a chemistry for a Industrial economy on Mars more than one trick is needed I expect.


I do like the biological approach.  If the biomass can be collected, you could extract hydrocarbons and Hydrogen from that.

Done.

Last edited by Void (2022-09-01 10:30:39)


Done.

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#36 2023-01-23 08:26:39

jfenciso
Member
From: Philippines
Registered: 2018-10-27
Posts: 89
Website

Re: Possible timelines for martian agriculture?

As far as I know, the plan of NASA is to perfect the concept of bioregenerative life support system (BLSS) in closed-loop environment. They don't want to make fail in BLSS during long-term space mission like staying for a long time in Moon or Mars.


I'm Jayson from the Philippines. Graduate of Master of Science in Botany at the University of the Philippines Los Baños, Laguna. I am specializing in Plant Physiology, and have a minor degree in Agronomy. My research interests are Phytoremediation, Plant-Microbe Interaction, Plant Nutrition, and Plant Stress Physiology.

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#37 2023-01-23 12:15:13

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 12,757

Re: Possible timelines for martian agriculture?

For JFenciso ...

It is ** good ** to have you back in the forum, and I look forward to your contributions as you and your students progress.

That said, it is (perhaps?) time to go over forum protocol. 

Your post #36 is surely interesting and valuable when posted in the correct topic.

This topic is NOT about space missions, important as those are.

Please get in the habit of reading the opening post of a topic before you contribute something.

Our members have a long established habit of drifting off topic.  You can help to bring topics back to the Topic Creator's original intent.

Your work in agriculture would seem likely to lead to understanding of what it is going to take to succeed on Mars.  If you review this topic, you'll find that RobertDyck is just ** one ** of the contributors who have tried to understand the problem, and identify solutions that might help to produce long-lived crops on Mars.

(th)

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#38 2023-01-23 14:49:00

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 27,185

Re: Possible timelines for martian agriculture?

It's one reason biosphere and other experiments have not shown the way as plants need to generate excess for man.

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