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posted by Fnord666 on Wednesday June 03 2020, @07:17PM   Printer-friendly
from the lots-of-MREs dept.

How to make the food and water Mars-bound astronauts will need for their mission:

If we ever intend to send crewed missions to deep-space locations, then we need to come up with solutions for keeping the crews supplied. For astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS), who regularly receive resupply missions from Earth, this is not an issue. But for missions traveling to destinations like Mars and beyond, self-sufficiency is the name of the game.

This is the idea behind projects like BIOWYSE and TIME SCALE, which are being developed by the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Space (CIRiS) in Norway. These two systems are all about providing astronauts with a sustainable and renewable supply of drinking water and plant food. In so doing, they address two of the most important needs of humans performing long-duration missions that will take them far from home.

[...] In short, the ISS relies on costly resupply missions to provide 20% of its water and all of its food. But if and when astronauts establish outposts on the moon and Mars, this may not be an option. While sending supplies to the moon can be done in three days, the need to do so regularly will make the cost of sending food and water prohibitive. Meanwhile, it takes eight months for spacecraft to reach Mars, which is totally impractical.

So it is little wonder that the proposed mission architectures for the moon and Mars include in-situ resource utilization (ISRU), in which astronauts will use local resources to be as self-sufficient as possible. Ice on the lunar and Martian surfaces, a prime example, will be harvested to provide drinking and irrigation water. But missions to deep-space locations will not have this option while they are in transit.

[...] Technologies like these will be crucial when it comes time to establish a human presence on the moon, on Mars, and for the sake of deep-space missions. In the coming years, NASA plans to make the long-awaited return to the moon with Project Artemis, which will be the first step in the creation of what they envision as a program for "sustainable lunar exploration."

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 03 2020, @11:59PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 03 2020, @11:59PM (#1002988)

    it won't be tasty but short of synthesizing a poisones chemical it's probably going to be "elevating" waste chemicals with electricity to higher states that can be, again, broken down by human digestion tract to free the previously put in electrical energy ...
    i suppose it's not going to be just electricity per se but also pressure and gradients and stuff like that. very mechanical and industrial.
    bringing "plants" and "animals" seems dodgy at least as long as there is no firm ground under the astronauts feet.
    for interplanetary "calories" it's probably a purely chemical process and a kind to drinking and eating oil and tar like substances in consistance.
    where probably REAL problems arise are with filters. water and air filters. how do we clean filters? just use water? oops ...
    some sort of filters (pores) for water and gases need be able to be clean with a big jolt of arc electricity and then the junk in the filter needs to be "shaken out" over board (outside of space vehicule)?
    if i would go on a mars trip it will not be for the "haute cuisine" and 4 michelin starts ^_^

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 04 2020, @12:11AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 04 2020, @12:11AM (#1002990)

    if i would have to bring my own food for the trip:
    a cows worth of beef jerky, a big drum of instant oats and a huge drum of white sugar ...

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 04 2020, @12:25AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 04 2020, @12:25AM (#1002994)

      Don’t forget the 50 gallon drum of Tang.