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RE: starship-design: Re:Food in space

> Everyone seems to be focusing on the finanial aspect of food and
> only at the consumption of the final product. The benifits of growing
> produce in space environments would be high, surely. The
> production and cleaning of air would rank up there.
> It is my belief that the proposed manned Mars mission is planned
> using hydroponically grown products to sustain air and oxygen
> levels as much as for the nutrition aspect.

There have already been several studies that showed it was more practical to
carry consumables than to manufacture them in a closed loop system for
almost any limited duration mission. A permanent presence in orbit however,
is by definition not a limited duration mission. The cost of setting up the
initial self sustaining ecosystem can now be carried across dozens, even
hundreds of years.

I think Kelly has the data on this.


Was there a break even point in the studies? At what point (how many
man-years) does it become preferable to build such a system?