Archive for the ‘Industry’ Tag

3-D Dinner is Served!   54 comments

Extreme Dinner is Served!

Growing food

How do we grow food in space?!! This is one of our most prevalent challenges, although it may well become an even bigger one here on Earth if we cannot figure out how to grow enough on the home world to feed our ever-expanding population!

Launching supplies into space is, of course, costly. So the ultimate aim for any long-duration interplanetary trip or long-term human presence on the surface of Mars would be to develop sustainable food cultivation techniques.

Marsbase_asc-csa.gc.ca

Extreme Gardening on Mars

Future Gardening on Mars may yet become a reality with the European Research Project MELiSSA on track to grow vegetables on the Red Planet. MELiSSA is an ESA project which “strongly promotes the implementation of space research based innovations on Earth via Industry.” Initially vegetables will be grown from seeds in a closed Earth system, later progressing to growing on the Moon. The first Martian vegetables will be grown in a Mars-bound spacecraft and if all goes to plan the ultimate planting and growing on Mars will follow.

marsveg_vasi.netNurturing vegetation and growing crops in such a hostile environment as space is fraught with difficulties and would involve a high degree of human ingenuity and new science. It would also require an intense and complex support system in order to succeed. In particular there is also the question of drinking water production, nutrients and crop cultivation techniques which will also require research.

If this plan does succeed, the new technologies and science necessary to achieve it could also be put to good use back on Earth, to develop land around the world which is not at this time suitable for food cultivation. This could provide a much needed lifeline to those countries where many of their citizens are starving, and also be of overall benefit in feeding our ever expanding population in general.

"Also companies on Earth can benefit from the space research. For instance, new energy efficient light systems can be developed and commercialized for growing plants in green houses." ~ Prof. Benedikt Sas from the Centre of Excellence Food2Know.

China to Grow Mars Veg’

SpaceFoodMarsGreenhouseState media in China have reported Chinese astronauts are preparing to grow fresh vegetables on the Moon and Mars. A successful test held in Beijing was conducted and completed for research purposes, consisting of four different vegetable types. Growing in an "ecological life support system" which relies on plants and algae this environment would create an opportunity for fresh, home-grown vegetables to be harvested for healthy, nutritious meals.

“Chinese astronauts may get fresh vegetables and oxygen supplies by gardening in extra-terrestrial bases in the future,” ~ Deng Yibing, a researcher at Beijing’s Chinese Astronaut Research and Training Centre quoted by Xinhua news agency.


3-D Printing of food

One potential solution to these issues could be 21st century open-source technology in the form of 3-D printers. Already being used in industry and the arts, 3-D printing looks set to become ‘one of the defining technologies in human space travel and colonization.’

3-D Printing_m.gizmodo.co.uk

So! If you are one of those angry American citizens raging furiously against the changes to your gun laws and the shortage of aforementioned item and plentiful supplies of ammo’ or possibly even a really determined, hard core survivalist then this 3-D printer maybe the revolutionary solution you have been feverishly searching for…just print a nice, shiny new gun and you’re right there in business to exercise your right to bear arms!

But how could the growth of a replenishable source of ‘Martian mushrooms and cosmic cucumbers’ – a healthy stock of crisp, garden-fresh veggies being a vital ingredient in ensuring colonies are in good physical shape – viably be achieved?

A 3-D printer controlled by software recipes, such as the one being developed by researchers at Cornell University, could be the answer to your unappeasable appetite for a nourishing snack.

 3-D printing machine_dobrevijesti.info


Space Pizza!

It’s not quite a vegetable but it is the perfect choice for the first printed to order 3-D printed food; at your heady request it can print off a lovely big space pizza to satisfy even the largest of man-sized appetites!

3d-printing_trendjournal.mudpie.co.uk

It would be created by printing the first layer –dough for the pizza base, which will speedily bake on the hot plate it would be deposited on. This would be topped with a combo-layer of powdered tomato puree and oil then yet a further layer – of protein and ideally a blend of all nutrients and minerals required to create a thoroughly healthy pizza! Unheard of though a healthy pizza is, should it become possible it may even be possible to add medications where necessary, via computer commands.

Enter NASA!3_D pizza

NASA has been so enthusiastic about this innovative proposition for a galactic pizza express 😉 that it has approved a $125,000 grant for the development of a “universal food synthesizer,” a prototype dreamed up by mechanical engineer Anjan Contractor, of Systems and Materials Research Corporation (SMRC) in Austin, Texas. Based on 3-D printing technology this prototype also has the advantage of eliminating the problem of food waste.

“Long distance space travel requires 15-plus years of shelf life. The way we are working on it is all the carbs, proteins and macro and micro nutrients are in powder form. We take moisture out, and in that form it will last maybe 30 years.” ~ Anjan Contractor

03m/02/sprs/15085/ga00259

In conclusion

Although this innovative design is currently only at the ideas stage, in the future it could transform the way we conceive food here on Earth. This in-turn may help feed the planet.

“I think, and many economists think, that current food systems can’t supply 12 billion people sufficiently. So we eventually have to change our perception of what we see as food.” ~ Contractor

3-D food_culturewav.esSources: Space.com

Science Daily

 

Mining the Moon   34 comments

  
Free Energy! But At What Cost? 

  

 

Forty years after man first walked on the Moon the people of Earth are now considering their options for making a new and potentially devastating use for our nearest neighbour “The Moon” running the risk of destroying one world in the name of saving another.

Just three space shuttles full of lunar soil heated to create Helium-3, could power the whole planet for years…BUT AT WHAT COST?  The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 says no-one owns the Moon.  It is free for both exploration and for use.  As such this leaves plenty of opportunity for the world’s super-powers to exercise their plans for mining the Moon.

 

Mankind the Destroyer of Worlds

 

Helium-3 is a potent, safe fuel which could be used to power nuclear power fusion reactors to produce clean electric.  It is created by heating vast quantities of lunar soil (regolith).  One ton of Helium-3 currently valued at $5billion (£3.27billion) and could power New York for one year.  Three fully loaded space shuttles could meet the entire planet’s annual energy needs.

China leads the way followed by India and Russia, and US plans to build a Moon Base by 2021.  Private investors are also funding missions.  Gerald Kulcinski, director of Fusion Technological Institution at the University of Wisconsin, is convinced it’s the future.  “Very small environmental impact on the Moon is far outweighed by the impact of green-house gases and having proliferation-free power sources that could last 1000 years.”

Mining the Moon

BUT!

It takes one million tons of regolith to produce one ton of Helium-3.  Large scale mining will scar the lunar landscape.  Fundamentally changing the Moon’s atmosphere and destroying its surface.

  

The Moon also has other areas of important scientific value – it will be from here that future missions into deeper space, will launch, and there are also those who seek to use the ‘radio quiet’ zone on the Moon’s far side to build long-range radio telescopes…. it is not inconceivable they may find signs of Extra Terrestrial Intelligence.

BUT!

If we start mining one world where will it end? 

  

  We should use the Moon but not exploit it.  The Moon is only a three day trip away, likely one day we’ll call it home…..

 

 

Remember! The Moon and the Earth are  intricately bound together. The Moon has much influence over the tides and seas of Earth.

Damage the Moon….and who knows what damage we may do to the homeworld and the future of the human race?….