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The extra passengers were these three.
Who did they take on?
Three people who’d been stranded on the “other-Earth” from the Hiawatha.
Absolutely fascinating how you planned this plotline over many years, just so this discussion about the need to grow food in space to survive an unplanned mission prolongation will appear right after we have all seen The Martian.
At least the Galaxion will have been (slightly) better stocked than the Ares III Hab! Also, better positioned for crop diversity!
If Carl stayed, who was the third?
The Galaxion short on space?!? This is remarkable. Intuitively one would rather expect availability of soil to be the limiting factor, but of course they’d use hydroponics instead. Water and the mineral nutrients should be easy enough to mine from a comet, if need be. Carbon could be a limiting factor, but since they have several months worth of food for 70 people, the human population should generate plenty of CO2 for the growing plants. (If spaceships normally rely on stored food, there should even be a “waste carbon” store somewhere, since some machine must be removing the C from CO2 to make O2. Fun idea: Carbon extractor can also double as 3D-printer, building diamonds, graphene, and nanotubes atom by atom.)
A large new hydroponics bay could pose a structural engineering problem, however. Every cubic metre of water weighs a ton! (But then we get into the tricky parts about how the in-ship gravity works.)
Hydroponics uses more water and other resources than necessary.
(Yes, aeroponics is real — not just ST:Voy treknobabble…)
Yes, I arrived at pretty much the same conclusion, after reading just the Wikipedia article on hydroponics—an all-to-common drawback of doing the research after posting. They just need to start manufacturing the aeroponics equipment.
Another limiting factor could however be light. The Galaxion is well-lit for humans to see things, but plants use light as energy source, and therefore need quite a bit more of it; extra lighting would be necessary. LEDs are excellent (you just need to have enough of them), but at least with present technology these are dependent upon specific elements which would not necessarily be in ample supply on a spaceship or in passing comets. Building light sources (that don’t generate lots of vaste heat) could thus be tricky.
However, Galaxion isn’t the kind of sci-fi that digs down into technical details like that, so I would expect that something else happens before the food situation approaches critical. But showing the captain worrying about the food problem and preparing for it months in advance is a nice touch that lends credibility.
Well, it seems like right now the crew’s living quarters are pretty big– I’d probably be looking at whether we could consolidate people for a while and grow more plants.
They’re going to have to Science the shit out of it, all right.
Though perhaps not quite so literally as in Watney’s case!
And now that the funeral is over it’s high time to start rationing…
But yeah, food shouldn’t be a problem as long as they can scavenge enough parts to build sufficient aeroponics, their fusion (I assume it’s fusion) engine provides ample power for food generation on top of the recycling it already powers.
Wait, I just checked. They’re seven months away… That’s rations at 40% with a little left over (2.9%), before any extra food yields. This isn’t a survival problem unless someone is already really slim. This is a comfort and health problem.
But as it is, further complications could always happen, which could mean people starving to death. There’s really no excuse not to start at least a 50% regimen immediately. Maybe the engineers should get a bit extra though, just so they don’t make any mistakes.
Another thing to do would be to get non-critical crew to just rest and reduce calorie usage.
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