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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:2, Insightful)

    by MozeeToby ( 1163751 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @01:16PM (#32033114)

    Wouldn't it be more efficient to rely on soy for protein? Even the most efficient methods of growing meat are always going to be less efficient than just eating the plants directly, and the continued survival of the worlds vegan population indicates that there are no major health problems with such a diet.

  • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @01:16PM (#32033134) Journal
    I don't quite understand why it is we're (ostensibly) pushing for Mars now, when we should be working to get back to the Moon first? Wouldn't we gain all sorts of experience and understanding of living on a non-terrestrial world living on the Moon, as well as possibly building infrastructure there to make future missions to Mars and elsewhere easier, amongst a myriad of other things the Moon would be useful for? Or is this just Obama paying lip-service to the idea, knowing that future administrations will likely vote the whole thing down anyway so it doesn't matter?
  • Antarctica? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mi ( 197448 ) <> on Thursday April 29, 2010 @01:18PM (#32033158) Homepage Journal

    Can we, please, please, please, colonize Antarctica first? Although not a planet, it is still a giant continent, that many times easier to reach, to live on, and to return from than Mars.

    There are no questions of presence of water or usable air. Conditions are harsh, but nowhere near the harshness of Mars...

    And then there are the vast deserts like Gobi or Sahara. Mars, while intriguing, can await further revolutions in technology. Spending an appreciable chunk of the GDP just to get there seems rather wasteful...

  • Re:And (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ChromeAeonium ( 1026952 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @01:38PM (#32033524)

    If it's protein you're concerned about, I'd say your best bet would be to skip both the animal and plant kingdoms entirely, animals especially would be far too inefficient, and use a spirulina genetically modified to produce all the proteins humans need. It's not that far fetched; there's already soy modified to produces omega-3. It probably wouldn't taste all that good, but since we're talking about being as efficient as possible...well, we aren't going to Mars for the local specialties. Not yet anyway.

  • Current Date + 20 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dmgxmichael ( 1219692 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @01:44PM (#32033642) Homepage

    Nixon and Ford targeted Mars by the end of the millennium. Reagan targeted it at or around this year. Clinton said by 2020 - Obama pushes it to 2030.

    It's always going to be Current date + 20. I've lost hope.

  • Re:And (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nadaka ( 224565 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @02:10PM (#32034106)

    No, not really. Most people convert to veganism later in life after being omnivores through childhood and young adulthood. Most of them also either choose not to have children or have passed child rearing age when they change their diet as well.

  • by Skarecrow77 ( 1714214 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @02:19PM (#32034250)

    you're actually right on the money.

    It's a 10 year project, no more. If we target a longer development cycle, politics will interfere.

    We're quite lucky that Kennedy targeted "this decade" for the moon landing, giving us 9 years to get there. Nixon and congress were already guttong apollo by the time we actaully landed on the moon. If kennedy had said "1979" instead, then by 1969 we would have just been finishing up the mercury flights as the entire program was canceled.

  • by MozeeToby ( 1163751 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @02:32PM (#32034470)

    (a) humans are not designed (due to insufficient and error prone DNA repair systems in their genome) to endure long term space voyages or planetary habitation outside of the magnetosphere of the Earth (where high radiation doses are a constant threat);

    Humans aren't designed for a lot of things we do on a regular basis. It is our technology that allows us to live in many of the environments we call home, I bet more than 50% of people on the planet would die within a year if you put us back in the stone age. And even stone age technology (simple tools, simple shelter, and fire) is still a big step up from what the human body alone is capable of. My point is that what the human body is and isn't designed for is irrelevant, it's what we can design and build to support us.

  • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @03:51PM (#32035792) Homepage

    My point is that what the human body is and isn't designed for is irrelevant, it's what we can design and build to support us.

    While still agreeing with you, I might put it like this: The most distinguishing features of the human body are our upright posture, our dexterous hands for fine manipulation, and our large problem-solving abstract-thinking brains, which are all almost certainly interrelated features in our evolutionary history. Upright posture allowed our spines to support a much heavier head, and freed the hands to be used as tool-holders instead of for locomotion, while the benefits to adaptability given by intelligence and tool use made selection for upright posture stronger, etc.

    In other words, I'd say this is exactly what human bodies were designed for.

The best book on programming for the layman is "Alice in Wonderland"; but that's because it's the best book on anything for the layman.