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Re: RE: starship-design: Re:Food in space

In a message dated 10/13/99 9:44:29 PM, lparker@cacaphony.net writes:

>> Everyone seems to be focusing on the financial aspect of food and
>> only at the consumption of the final product. The benefits 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
>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
>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?

The details are on the web site.  In general the farm weighs more then about 
25-30 years food supply.  Cost wise it may be even less desirable to build 
that much bigger a station to fit in a farm.  I'm not certain it ever would 
make financial or resource sense to grow the food in space.  Worse, the food 
verity and quality would be less.