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by Qwibqwib @, Monday, July 14, 2014, 22:05 @ gimp

That is a sweet farm! I am 100% with you Gimp. The humans need to get their act together and populate other planets. The first step is to get the ship assembled in orbit. Then the farms could be started with the intention of leaving for the new homeworld once the farms are established.

I think one of the major problems that will need to be solved is power. How do you provide enough power to give sufficient light, water pumping, Co2 supply, drainage, waste storage (see below), life support, etc for large-scale growth in a spaceship? Solar power would work with large, efficient panels. New tech has come out to help increase efficiency.

One example is taking thin, translucent panels and stacking them so they catch more photons per square inch. Each panel is less efficient, because of the see-through feature, but when stacked, they are more efficient than a larger, conventional panel. That way you can pack them more tightly and gain numbers of panels as well as higher efficiency.

Another advance along these lines is the recent introduction of cloth like solar panels. They are thin (about 5-10mm) and lightweight, and as flexible as paper. They could be made into large streamers that would unfurl behind the ship as it progressed. They would have a shape that allowed the solar wind to orient the cells always toward the sun.

When you land on a planet, how do you provide power for your new settlement? You know, in the first few weeks while setting up a more robust power supply? You could bring generators along with fuel, pre-made and stabilized for the journey. You could save that weight and produce that fuel while in transit. Perhaps its a good idea to have multiple plans to make certain a failure does not void the whole project.

You could use a diesel engine powered by rapseed oil (from trees of same name) which you would have grown while in transit. That's a big investment. Trees take up a lot of room, but rapseed seeds produce the most oil. Maybe compromise on a smaller growing plant that gives a good amount of oil. Again, several sources is probably a good idea.

Why not use the accumulated plant matter/agricultural waste and distill some fuel for a steam engine? A triple expansion engine is very efficient and it runs on simply rainwater and fire. Its a very good way to make electricity. Check out this antique steam engine I recently restored...

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.
John Adams

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