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Mars Space

Gardening On Mars 262

Calopteryx writes "Following Obama's announcement of the intention to send humans to Mars by the mid-2030s, New Scientist reports on plans to piece together the elements of a starter kit for the first colonists of the Red Planet: 'The creation of a human outpost on Mars is still some way off, but that hasn't stopped us planning the garden.'"
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Gardening On Mars

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  • Re:And (Score:3, Informative)

    by Lunix Nutcase ( 1092239 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @01:29PM (#32033370)

    and the continued survival of the worlds vegan population indicates that there are no major health problems with such a diet.

    And they only do so from being able to take supplements for things they can't get reliably get from plant sources such as B12. One couple [] got a life sentence because a vegan diet they imposed on their baby ended up killing it due to their ignorance on such nutritional deficiencies that can happen from such a lifestyle.

  • Re:And (Score:4, Informative)

    by Nadaka ( 224565 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @01:33PM (#32033448)

    Right. Vegan diets are extremely unhealthy for pregnant women and young children, even leading to miscarriage, disfigurement or death. It is also moderately unhealthy for almost everyone compared to a balanced diet of home made food (meat, dairy, grain, vegetables, fresh if possible, otherwise with as little chemical preservatives as possible). The only thing you can compare a vegan diet to in a positive light is the modern diet of industrially prepared chemically infused meals and fast food.

  • Re:And (Score:5, Informative)

    by Lunix Nutcase ( 1092239 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @01:33PM (#32033452)

    Yes, one would have to. This is why humans have always been omnivores. Even up to a few hundred years ago it would be been completely impractical to be a vegan due to the lack of supplements for essentials vitamins and minerals that one cannot reliably get from plant sources. Vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the leading issues with a poorly planned vegan diet and this vitamin was not even isolated until 1948. Before that point one was given liver extracts to treat things like pernicious anemia which results from B12 deficiency.

  • Re:And (Score:5, Informative)

    by crmarvin42 ( 652893 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @01:42PM (#32033590)
    Soy is an excellent plant source of protein. However, protein is not a single nutrient, but a collection of nutrients known as amino acids. Some amino acids can be synthesized by humans (non-essential or dispensible amino acids), others can be interconverted between each other, and others still have to be consumed intact because humans have innadequate ability to synthesize them (essential or indispensible amino acids). Generally, animal sources of protein have ratios of amino acids more in line with the human requirement (Egg being the gold standard).

    one must also consider anti-nutritive factors in soy. Soy is the second most alergenic food to humans, and contains high concetrations of phytic acid. Phytic acid can reduce the digestibility not only of nutrients within the soy plant (P, Ca, Zn, Mn, et al), but also within other foods eaten with the soy.

    Also, animal protein sources are much more dense. Fish contain a much higher percent protein in addition to having a better amino acid profile. Humans living on vegan diets usually take amino acid supplements because they cannot physically eat enough soy in a day to meet their dietary requirements for amino acids without feeling like they've eaten too much, if they can consume that much soy at all. A filet of fish goes a longer way toward meeting the nutritional requirement than an identical wieght of soy beans. If you want to isolate soy protein, then you need a lot of specialized equipment and some rather harsh chemicals to extract the protein whereas fish protein is simply extracted by mechanically scaling and gutting the fish.

    Any potential Martian colonists will have a diet that bares little resemplence to the average American's diet now, but Veganisms is dependent upon modern infrastructure that would be difficult to replicate on Mars.
  • Re:How, exactly? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @01:43PM (#32033628)
    Never let the facts stand in the way of a good anti-Obama rant!

    Obama's strategy, which increases NASA's budget by $6 billion over the next five years, looks to commercial space vehicles to take over the role of transporting astronauts to and from low Earth orbit and focuses the agency's efforts on technologies that will take explorers to destinations beyond the Moon. []

    Canceling Constellation != "draining the lifeblood out of every avenue of manned exploration", and in fact, Obama is increasing NASA's budget!
  • by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @01:58PM (#32033896)

    I don't quite understand why it is we're (ostensibly) pushing for Mars now,

    We're not actually pushing for Mars now. We're talking about pushing for Mars...

    Nor did Obama say as much. What he said is that he expects to see humans go to Mars by the 2030's. He didn't actually go as far as saying that he's going to direct NASA to move in that direction, or provide them any money for R&D leading in that direction....

  • Re:And (Score:3, Informative)

    by Explodicle ( 818405 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @02:02PM (#32033976) Homepage

    The American Dietetic Association considers well-planned vegan diets "appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy and lactation," but recommends that vegan mothers supplement for iron, vitamin D, and vitamin B12.

    - Veganism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia []

  • Re:And (Score:2, Informative)

    by pz ( 113803 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @02:18PM (#32034230) Journal

    You forgot menstruating women. Getting sufficient iron from plant-only sources, while possible, is impractical because the concentrations are so low. According to a Caltech nutrition researcher (damn, where *is* that reference ...) a single serving of 4 oz of red meat per week, or one smallish hamburger, is sufficient to replace iron lost in the menses, whereas it would be physically difficult to eat enough spinach, a plant relatively high in iron, to do the same. It's all about eating blood to get the iron-laden haemoglobin, and red meat is red because it still has blood in it (while white meat is white because the blood has been drained). Pregnant women, infants, and children, who all have circulatory systems that are quite literally growing in volume, also need iron to make haemoglobin because their bodies are manufacturing blood. As has been pointed out elsewhere in this thread, an excellent way for humans to get complete balanced protein is by eating animal flesh; in a similar fashion, an excellent way for humans to get bioavailable iron is to eat blood, and the most socially acceptable way of doing that is to eat red meat.

  • Re:And (Score:2, Informative)

    by lemur3 ( 997863 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @02:57PM (#32034972)

    The American Dietetic Association considers well-planned vegan diets "appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy and lactation," but recommends that vegan mothers supplement for iron, vitamin D, and vitamin B12.

              - Veganism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia []

    that quote is wrong.. just look at the source at the bottom of the wiki page.

    Craig, WJ; Mangels, AR; American Dietetic, Association (July 2009). "Position of the American Dietetic Association: vegetarian diets.". J Am Diet Assoc 109 (7): 1266–1282. doi:10.1016/j.jada.2009.05.027. PMID 19562864.

    it says VEGETARIAN DIETS. not vegan.

    someone is trying to create their own reality.

  • Re:And (Score:5, Informative)

    by reverseengineer ( 580922 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @03:05PM (#32035062)
    It's not blood that makes red meat red; it's the myoglobin concentration in the muscle, which in turn relates to that muscle's use of oxygen. Meat from adult mammalian tissues on average contains about ten times as much myoglobin as meat from poultry. In poultry, meat can be further differentiated into "light and dark" meat based on what part of the bird it comes from- muscles in the wings, thighs, and legs need more oxygen to sustain activity, have more myoglobin, and are darker- but still have less myoglobin than most beef.

    Draining blood out of the meat isn't going to change its color; the myoglobin is within the muscle itself. The color of meat can be affected by the animal's age and diet however: veal, for instance, can be nearly white in color when taken from calves fed only on milk. Myoglobin, like its bloodborne relative hemoglobin, does contain iron, and does represent a major dietary source if you eat red meat.
  • Re:And (Score:3, Informative)

    by crmarvin42 ( 652893 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @03:10PM (#32035140)
    Speaking as one who's masters research was based around phytic acid, your theory doesn't stand up. The problem with phytic acid is that it is not digestible. That means the ingested phytic acid doesn't get absorbed, and is voided in the feces. The anti-nutritive effect of phytic acid is due to it being the principal storage form of Phosphorus in plants (> 75% of Phosphorus in dehulled solvent-extracted soybean meal) and a result of it binding to other nutrients and dragging them out with the feces as well.

    My guess (educated, but still a guess) would be that the refusal you experienced is due to high circulating levels of blood urea nitrogen. Amino acids absorbed in excess of what can be used must be degraded. Part of the degradation process results in urea production, and the higher the protein degradation rate the higher the urea synthesis rate. There may be a point at which the liver and kidneys get overtaxed in their effort to synthesize and excrete urea, which in turn could make you feel like your body is telling you "No more!" I don't know of any research along these lines though, so this is pure speculation.
  • Re:And (Score:3, Informative)

    by Cyberax ( 705495 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @03:16PM (#32035220)

    "It's all about eating blood to get the iron-laden haemoglobin, and red meat is red because it still has blood in it (while white meat is white because the blood has been drained)"

    That's fantastically incorrect. "Red meat" is read because of high content of myoglobin ( [] ) - another oxygen-binding protein. It's found in muscle cells which do short bursts of work.

    Also, vegan diets ARE possible. Iron is not a problem: []

    So stop spouting nonsense.

  • Re:And (Score:3, Informative)

    by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Thursday April 29, 2010 @03:35PM (#32035526)
    Yeah, but they're the biggest assholes in the mammal class.
  • Re:And (Score:4, Informative)

    by Explodicle ( 818405 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @03:47PM (#32035722) Homepage
    Read the source [], not just its title. On page 1269 they say the following:

    Well-planned vegan, lacto-vegetarian, and lacto-ovo-vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy and lactation. Appropriately planned vegan, lacto-vegetarian, and lacto-ovo-vegetarian diets satisfy nutrient needs of infants, children, and adolescents and promote normal growth (49-51).

    (Emphasis mine)

  • Re:And (Score:2, Informative)

    by TheNumberless ( 650099 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @03:53PM (#32035826)

    that quote is wrong.. just look at the source at the bottom of the wiki page.

    That is the title of the cited paper. Often, scholarly papers contain information beyond the content of the title. For example, following the provided link to the article reveals this in the first line of the abstract:

    It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.

    someone is trying to create their own reality.


  • Re:And (Score:3, Informative)

    by crmarvin42 ( 652893 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @04:53PM (#32036746)
    AFAIK, the only way that melamine has found its way into milk is through tainted feed purchased from China. I don't know of any reports that Farmers were adulterating their milk with melamine. All the dairy farmers I knew were horrified that melamine was making into their product.

    Unless you can provide documentation that a dairy producer was caught intentionally adding melamine to their milk I'll have to accuse you of FUD. Furthermore, if there has been a case that I am unaware of, I'll have to accuse you of extrapolation unless you can provide evidence that it was more than an isolated incident (one farm does not a trend make).

    The reason that melamine was being added to feed in China was to increase the Crude Protein value (essentially the Nitrogen concentration, which is high in melamine) and thus the sale price. Farmers in the US bought the high crude protein feed thinking that it was high quality feed. They only later discovered that they had been purchasing poor quality feed containing melamine and were outraged by the deception.

    The Nitrogen in melamine is not available as a source of protein, so they were getting less than they paid for, which resulted in them unintentionally feeding their animals protein deficient diets. This kind of nutritional deficiency has all sorts of repercussions as far as animal growth, production, long term viability, etc. that make it unlikely any farmer would intentionally feed melamine tainted feed to their animals.

    And in closing, there is only one dairy industry in the US. There are multiple markets to which milk might end up (Fluid milk, cheese, butter, dried milk, etc.), but they all pull from the same pool of milk. I know this because I worked on several dairy's in MA and CT while an undergrad and even visited the Agrimark Balancing Plant in Springfield, MA. It is part of a Regional Co-operative that helps diary farmers efficiently sell their milk to the various end users. Trucks are routed to local plants for bottling, ice cream production, etc. and any milk not sold off goes to a balancing plant. Milk from one dairy might end up in 1 gallon jugs one day, in ice cream the next, and cheese on another.

    The Plant in Springfield makes butter and dried milk which both can be stored for extended periods of time. This helps keep the price of milk up (absorbing excess supply in periods of low demand). Not only does the milk from one farm end up in many different products, Many different brands are often manufactured in the same plants. The Springfield plant manufactured butter is sold under every label except Land O'Lakes (or was in 2002) and Land O'Lakes simply uses a different balancing plant somewhere else. It's safe to say that the store brand butter in just about any store in New England came off the same production line as butter sold under any other label (so buy the cheap stuff and save some money).
  • by poly_pusher ( 1004145 ) on Friday April 30, 2010 @09:26AM (#32043322)
    From the following article: [] Scientists are still working to characterize the dangers and develop the technologies necessary for safe suits and ships. This much they know: Any trip beyond Earth orbit will involve radiation threats not faced by residents of the International Space Station, which sits inside the planet's magnetic field. A 2-1/2-year trip to Mars, including six months of travel time each way, would expose an astronaut to nearly the lifetime limit of radiation allowed under NASA guidelines. The Moon, with no atmosphere, is more dangerous than the surface of Mars. Lunar forays will have to be brief unless expensive shielded habitats are built. Mission planners knew the Apollo astronauts would be at grave risk if a strong solar flare occurred during a mission. The short duration of each trip was a key to creating favorable odds. "A big solar event during one of those missions could have been catastrophic," said Cary Zeitlin, a radiation expert at the National Space Biomedical Research Institute at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. "The risk was known. They gambled a bit." Once again, the purpose of space travel is not to "do something really cool" It is to gain scientific understanding. Any other reason is pointless. A failed mission reduces the amount of scientific knowledge we gain. Risk is fine. People take risks everyday. Currently and ironically trying to go to Mars is like "shooting the moon." Huge risk with small odds of worthwhile reward.

Marvelous! The super-user's going to boot me! What a finely tuned response to the situation!