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#1 2004-06-01 18:22:16

Trebuchet
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From: Florida
Registered: 2004-04-26
Posts: 419

Re: Most Important Animal to Mars - What animal will be most useful?

Of course, this is apart from the smart-aleck response of "Humans". Seriously, what animals are most useful to a colony?

My short list of 'desireable critters', in order:

1) Honeybees. Useful pollinators, they also provide honey and wax. Not many necessary, but they will be a big boon to any large-scale agriculture. Remember, Mars has no native pollinators.

2) Chickens. Eggs. Meat. Cute little chicks for the colonist's kids to coo over.

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#2 2004-06-01 23:49:12

Rxke
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From: Belgium
Registered: 2003-11-03
Posts: 3,667

Re: Most Important Animal to Mars - What animal will be most useful?

Worms. Hands-down...

To make soil out of garden leftovers etc.

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#3 2004-06-01 23:55:37

Trebuchet
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From: Florida
Registered: 2004-04-26
Posts: 419

Re: Most Important Animal to Mars - What animal will be most useful?

Bees, worms... makes me want to move right now!

Heh, forgot about the worms. They definitely will be useful, that's for sure. They probably will accidentally dig their way out of the farm domes and die a lot too. Watch out for dead worms.

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#4 2004-06-02 13:10:33

GCNRevenger
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From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: Most Important Animal to Mars - What animal will be most useful?

Anybody ever play a game called Sid Meir's Alpha Centauri?

Worms. Alien planet. No breathable air.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#5 2004-06-03 11:19:05

~Eternal~
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Registered: 2003-09-25
Posts: 211

Re: Most Important Animal to Mars - What animal will be most useful?

We're talking Earth worms, not mind-eating worms :b.

But I'd say, genetically enginneered bacteria, that have Firefly 'glow' dna and some other splicing that adds heat production big_smile.


The MiniTruth passed its first act #001, comname: PATRIOT ACT on  October 26, 2001.

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#6 2004-06-03 11:48:10

GCNRevenger
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From: Earth
Registered: 2003-10-14
Posts: 6,056

Re: Most Important Animal to Mars - What animal will be most useful?

Fireflies are actually quite unique with their ability to generate light without alot of waste heat.

The most important "animals" we will be sending to Mars will be bacteria probably, to operate a space septic tank, to help release gasses or water, produce usable soils, clean water, etc...

As far as multicellular life forms, the best ones will probably be fish for eating & fertilizer (Tilapia, mmmm) and since they are easy to grow, manage, and control. Some sort of birds might be next on the list, with their "excriment" being loaded with fertilizer nutrients and such.

Plants will be the first multicellular things to go of course... what kinds would be sent though, I don't know.


"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those that do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

The glass is at 50% of capacity

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#7 2004-06-03 16:28:36

Trebuchet
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Registered: 2004-04-26
Posts: 419

Re: Most Important Animal to Mars - What animal will be most useful?

We could start a 'what plants' thread, but let's keep it here.

At a guess, but a decently informed one, I would go with potatos. Potatos originally come from a high-altitude, dry, and often cold area, the Andes, and thus might have some advantages compared to other plants on Mars, but their real benefit is sheer calories per unit area. An acre of potatos using even low-tech, unsophisticated farming is enough to feed 4 people for a year as far as calories alone. So they would probably be the staple part of an early Martian colony's diet.

Other plants would be carrots; the green leafy part we don't eat can be fed to animals, and the rest goes well with the potatos. big_smile  And spinach, which is pretty vitamin-rich.

Other plants I'd grow would be, well, things like lettuce, radishes, etc, along with herbs. But those mostly would be done in small amounts as an adjunct to potatoes. Come to think of it, we need to grow some sort of oilseed plant so we can hydrogenate the oil. Need butter (well, margarine) for those baked 'taters, you know...  :laugh:

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#8 2004-06-04 10:20:30

DERF
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From: Kingston, Ontario
Registered: 2004-05-25
Posts: 39

Re: Most Important Animal to Mars - What animal will be most useful?

At a guess, but a decently informed one, I would go with potatos.

Until we get a potato famine

We need peanuts plants too, because I personally like them and they are high in protein. Speaking of high in protein, what about eating the worms after they die - I hear they are high in protein

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#9 2004-06-04 10:37:20

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

Re: Most Important Animal to Mars - What animal will be most useful?

Dogs are Man's best friend; Providing protecting against the raids of the Little Green Men.
-
Then you need cats for the dogs to chase, mice and birds for the cats to eat, and a whole supporting ecosystem.

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#10 2020-09-25 20:07:20

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,122

Re: Most Important Animal to Mars - What animal will be most useful?

Topic needs fixing but not on a cellphone.

Sure is a good question

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#11 2020-10-08 18:35:23

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 2,222

Re: Most Important Animal to Mars - What animal will be most useful?

My vote would be for chickens, if we are considering domestic food production. Chickens not only produce meat and eggs, but are useful in cultivating gardens through their scratching of the soil. They are mobile manure spreaders as well. They will eat portions of plants we humans find inedible: leaves and stems. They are highly efficient at converting their food to meat and eggs, with a feed efficiency around 3.
Second on my list would be swine.

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#12 2020-10-08 21:02:56

kbd512
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Registered: 2015-01-02
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Re: Most Important Animal to Mars - What animal will be most useful?

I think Mars needs lots of cows to help accelerate global warming there.

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#13 2020-10-09 02:14:39

Terraformer
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From: Logres
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,362
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Re: Most Important Animal to Mars - What animal will be most useful?

Sheep.

Diary, meat, and wool.

But mostly for the dairy. Probably easier to handle than goats, and produce a very fatty milk that is good for cheese making. Could probably get a lot of cream out of them too, so we can have butter.


"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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#14 2020-10-09 16:17:18

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 23,122

Re: Most Important Animal to Mars - What animal will be most useful?

So how many missions to decades will it take to be able to self sustain these beast that get transplanted into a new world?

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#15 2020-10-10 17:11:27

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 2,222

Re: Most Important Animal to Mars - What animal will be most useful?

Chickens should have no problem adapting to reduced gravity. I did some research on chicken breeds, and there are several choices. Rhode Island Reds and Barred Plymouth Rock breeds are good egg producers and make a good stewing bird as they go out of egg production due to age. Both breeds lay up to 280-300 eggs per (Earth) year, and based on the USDA standard egg weight of 2 oz. for a large egg, that's between 35 and 37.5 pounds of eggs. If processed feed is fed the birds, they consume between 3 and 3.5 times the egg produced in feed annually.
Eggs are possibly the easiest to produce high quality protein available to colonists. Then eat the chicken after a year of egg production. Another 7-8 pounds of good food.

A generalized standard for animal feeding is 2-3% of the body weight per day, although in egg production it could be a bit more, but based on a 7 pound laying hen, that calculates to about 75 pounds of mixed grain. If we allow grass to grow in the agricultural areas, that will go down significantly as they will prefer green feed. The chicken manure will be very beneficial to growing plants, since it also contains Uric Acid.

As a P.S. here, I've raised a lot of chickens in my lifetime.

Last edited by Oldfart1939 (2020-10-10 17:29:17)

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#16 2020-10-10 17:32:13

tahanson43206
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Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 7,347

Re: Most Important Animal to Mars - What animal will be most useful?

For Oldfart1939 re #15

Can I tempt you to carry your thinking a bit further?   This topic seems (to me at least) as good a place as any to start filling in the details of what a chicken farm on Mars might look like, and (perhaps more importantly) how the flows of materials into and out of the complex will occur.

RobertDyck's Large Ship concept is potentially adaptable for a test roost.  The size of 19 meters by 238 meters would provide plenty of room for a robust chicken farm.  That particular vehicle would stay in Earth orbit (I presume) where it would serve a growing population of customers in LEO.

My guess is it would need to be operated using teleoperation equipment, unless the design is sufficiently advanced to insure the air is acceptable for human workers.  in any case, a fully operational test facility in LEO would help to answer pressing questions about whether Mars can sustain life of any kind, let alone humans.

Would you be willing to add some detail to your vision?  I'll bet SpaceNut will be a supporter << grin >>

(th)

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#17 2020-10-10 17:48:13

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 2,222

Re: Most Important Animal to Mars - What animal will be most useful?

Sheep are another story. They are highly reproductive and have a relatively short gestation period. Two crops of lambs a year is standard, and birth is usually with twins. Sheep milk is very rich in butterfat, as Terraformer has observed.

I actually prefer swine, as the litters are frequently 6-8 piglets per litter. On feed, they are among the fastest growing, birth to table. Commercial pigs are seldom more than 4 months old when slaughtered.

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#18 2020-10-10 18:06:05

Oldfart1939
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Registered: 2016-11-26
Posts: 2,222

Re: Most Important Animal to Mars - What animal will be most useful?

I've noticed several comments about chickens being "too risky" for mars colonists to raise; I beg to disagree.
One thing I can say about having some eggs for breakfast: they make the day start well. I'm neither vegetarian nor vegan, and I'm a believer that under stressful living conditions and working conditions, some creature comforts are very important for morale. I consider eggs for breakfast and chicken for dinner makes for better morale.

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#19 2020-10-11 06:17:40

tahanson43206
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Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 7,347

Re: Most Important Animal to Mars - What animal will be most useful?

For Oldfart1939 re #18 and topic ...

Any chance you would be willing to work up a sketch-plan of how one of RobertDyck's Large Ship habitats could be adapted as a chicken farm in LEO?

The passenger version will eventually become unsafe for the long journey to and from Mars, but it might well last for many decades more as an agricultural enterprise in LEO serving communities that are likely to come into existence there.

More importantly for the long term undertaking of Mars settlement, having a Mars gravity and atmosphere test vehicle in LEO would allow for testing of theories about agricultural production (including chickens) under Mars conditions.

If RobertDyck designs his vessel so it can be assembled as sections in a mass production facility on Earth, and assembled into a complete vehicle in orbit, it may become cost effective to allocate at least one ship's worth of those modules to an agricultural test environment.

If you had a shed 19 meters wide and 238 meters long, how would you design the facility to produce healthy chickens and plenty of fresh eggs for the LEO market?

(th)

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#20 2021-07-10 12:53:28

Mars_B4_Moon
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Registered: 2006-03-23
Posts: 885

Re: Most Important Animal to Mars - What animal will be most useful?

Animal astronauts: Why other lifeforms will be crucial to humans living off Earth

https://www.sciencefocus.com/space/anim … ploration/

Will bugs and worms and monkeys and dogs be on Mars before men? It sounds ridiculous but animals have often been tasted before man.
The day a duck, a sheep and a cockerel took to the air in 1783. On the 19th September 1783, Etienne Montgolfier, a paper maker, launched the first hot air balloon with passengers, it was called ‘Aerostat Reveillon’. The passengers were a sheep, a duck and a rooster.
https://creedeballoonfestival.org/the-i … on-flight/


for now some sort of future designed insect for a Bio-dome or bug or bee or worm may help life stay on Mars

Last edited by Mars_B4_Moon (2021-07-10 14:22:53)

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