Biology is the problem and the solution

Biology is the problem and the solution

Postby MisterQED » Thu Sep 25, 2014 2:46 pm

There are possibly millions of organisms that are required for normal agriculture. If we land on another planet, we first have to see if microbial life has developed there independently. In any case the life we want is the ones we bring as this is the life that has developed along side of our own. If for some reason we end up on a planet that has developed DNA with an opposite twist, we are in trouble. If there is no life then there will be no oxygen, so we have to start by creating an environment that we can live in. If there is life then we have to keep it separate long enough to build the life we brought with us strong enough to out compete it.
So either way, we will start by moving into isolated biodomes that we will populate with aquaculture and chinampa style farms to produce the maximum amount of food in our limited living space. Then outside the domes, we will create terraforming domes where we will pull in water and sterile local soil, to start producing oxygen with algae. Depending on the makeup of the local soil you may need to add catalyst materials like iron to aid the reproduction of algae. Once there is enough oxygen we will introduce mushrooms and fungi to start eating the rocks and freeing up useful minerals. Once the soil is viable for plants you want to plant fast growing grasses so that you can create either mini or better maxi diverse perennial grassland habitats for suitably sized ruminants. This could be done on the small scale with rabbits or on a large scale with cows or even elephants. in any case you have to enforce a system of rotational grazing to first let the grass grow to fullness and then have it eaten or trampled down by two thirds. This is the fastest way to produce rich crop lands. If the planet is sterile then you want to create oxygen generating plants to create an atmosphere that will eventually shield your production. This can take multiple forms depending on the composition of the planet you land on and the existing atmosphere. Based on our solar system it is likely that you will just need to turn the CO2 you find into O2 using algae on mass. This will be a very long process, but in the mean time the domes should provide all you needs as long as they can shield you from harmful rays while absorbing enough sunlight.
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Re: Biology is the problem and the solution

Postby germanforestgump » Fri Sep 26, 2014 10:39 pm

Hello Mister QED,
your plan is very ambitious and maybe will work;
but i don´t think, the introduction of big herbivores would be possible and necessary.
I think, it is a too complicated and inefficent way to produce soil.
Our plants are able to grow in a sterile substrat with addition of mineral supplement in optimal combination.
The biomass, which is not needed for nutrition of humans, could be processed to "Terra Preta" by microorganisms.
As a former dairy-farmer, i would like the idea to have milk on a new planet - but i think it will be an unpossible luxury.
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Re: Biology is the problem and the solution

Postby Roger_Dymock » Sat Sep 27, 2014 9:37 am

Good morning,

An interesting proposition but I think it would be preferable to fully characterise a potential Earth II before we set up shop there. Terraforming requires a great deal of resources and those we probably wont have on arrival. If we need to terraform we have to ask why the planet got that way in the first place and whether or not it is likely to revert to that state. There is much discussion on the possibility of terraforming Mars but, without a magnetic field to deflect the solar wind and due to its small size the, planet may well not hold on to an Earth like atmosphere so generated. Full characterisation will most likely require a robotic sample return mission including both orbiters and landers. I studied biology at school but that was a long time ago but choosing a planet with similar biology would seem to be a must. Perhaps after we have selected a suitable Earth II a manned mission would precede one to actually settle on the planet. That is the way we seem to be proceeding as far as Mars is concerned so not unreasonable to follow in the same footsteps.
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