Reply to post: Re: There's got to be a lot more of this if humans want to live on other planets.

Plants in SPAAAAAAACE are good for you

Lee D Silver badge

Re: There's got to be a lot more of this if humans want to live on other planets.

The problem is - as always - weight.

The weight of food needed to sustain a handful of humans for a year is... well, quite enormous. Yes, you can argue that you can recycle your own waste, etc. but it doesn't get away from the fact that that requires more heavy equipment to do so.

The break-even point on weight has to be low, or it's just not worth bothering. Weight has been the expense on everything from satellite launches to the Apollo missions to modern probes. Whatever you send, you have to get up to 10's of 1000's of mph to escape Earth. And that's the CHEAPEST POSSIBLE WAY to do so (moving slower than that costs you more because you have to "stay up" for longer while still trying to make progress).

And when you look at how much it cost to launch a human, all the food they would need to survive the minimal amount of time, all the equipment / seeds / whatever they would need to grow - with the best fortune possible - more food as quickly as possible using as much of the local resources as possible, plus all the life-support and other stuff... it's a ludicrous amount of equipment. No human has ever been more than a month away from an entire planet-worth of food. No human has ever grown anything near enough to sustain themselves in space. No human would be able to carry the amount of stuff you'd need to do so. The Martian - which I absolutely hate because the writing is childish and atrocious - kinda got this one right. To get to that point, you need an entire damn base which you have to give over to food production, and then you might just have enough to stay alive a bit longer.

Weight kills space travel. And the problem we have is that you can barely pack a year's worth of food onto a long spaceflight if you just threw money at the problem. Let alone enough stuff to actually grow another year's worth - guaranteed - within a year.

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