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Nasa can't send humans to Mars until it gets the food right
Greg Matloff has been looking at Mars missions recently. He thinks some sort of Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) that allows recycling is necessary for any mission of this duration.
Quote:If partial recycling were not built in to the mission, a two-person crew could not be supported in the proposed spacecraft for missions of one year or longer. Projections from International Space Station technology indicate that a near-term goal for water recycling is 85% and the oxygen recovery rate can be raised to 75% [11,12]. Applying these values for an interplanetary mission applying near-term recycling technology, the daily consumable requirement per astronaut is 0.21 kg oxygen, 0.62 kg food, and 0.53 kg of water. Each crew member consumes about 1.4 kg per day of these resources or about 500 kg per year. A 4-person crew therefore requires about 2,000 kg of these resources for a 360-day duration interplanetary voyage.
It is next necessary to estimate the mass of the Environmental Control and Life Support System (ECLSS) equipment, not including consumables, necessary to support the mission. In Table 4.3 of his monograph, Rapp estimates the mass of the water-recovery system for a 180-day transit to Mars at 1.4 metric tons or 1,400 kg and the mass of the oxygen recovery system at 0.5 metric tons or 500 kg for a 6-person crew [13]. We are here considering a smaller crew and the 180-day return voyage as well as the 180-day flight to the interplanetary destination. Since we have no idea regarding ECLSS reliability on a deep-space mission, we will assume here that the required mass of ECLSS equipment is 3,000 kg. Including the 2,000 kg requirement for oxygen, food and water, the total ECLSS mass is about 5,000 kg.

Note that another subject of that article is sails, which Matloff thinks are necessary to assist propulsion; looks like the sail concept could become a vital part of interplanetary travel in the medium term, just as we expect at OA.

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RE: Nasa can't send humans to Mars until it gets the food right - by stevebowers - 03-28-2018, 10:58 AM

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