Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

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."


Original Submission

 
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Thursday June 04 2020, @01:13PM (1 child)

    by hendrikboom (1125) on Thursday June 04 2020, @01:13PM (#1003169) Homepage Journal

    3-6 months is doable, and even down to 1-2 months could be possible with in-orbit refueling. But you're right, the length of time doesn't matter that much. You won't be sending water too much outside of initial and emergency supplies.

    It's the emergency supplies that may not be able to wait 1-2 months. They'd have to hope there aren't any emergencies.

    -- hendrik

    Starting Score:    1  point
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   2  
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by takyon on Thursday June 04 2020, @01:40PM

    by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Thursday June 04 2020, @01:40PM (#1003180) Journal

    When the first astronaut steps foot on Mars, there should already be 20+ Starships standing around in the vicinity filled with supplies. Ideally, with buildings, solar arrays, etc. already set up in advance by robots, but maybe they have to do it themselves. There should be thousands of gallons of water, with plenty of it available for closed-loop habitats that recycle as much water as possible. And there should be equipment for extracting and melting Martian ice water.

    $20 million per 100 metric tons could be the rate at which Mars is spammed with supplies. Compare to the ISS which was about $50 billion for 420 tons.

    --
    [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]