Friday, October 9, 2015

Edits and updates

Regular readers (all two of you) may notice that most of my past posts have been edited to include a page break.
I will make an effort to page-break all future posts so the main page isn't such a massive run-on article.

Additional note:
 I started this blog to store my thoughts because I was getting obsessive, compelled to work through scenarios in my head and build endless spreadsheets and projections. Putting things down in print has really helped me to stabilize, to be able to work on a problem for a little bit and put it down without worrying about losing my progress. I am finally out of draft posts, which means I will be backfilling some of my earlier posts with additional reference links. New posts may not be as frequent, and I will try to keep them fairly short.

 If anyone reading this has questions or comments about any posts, please ask. I like to be distracted by new or different problems from time to time.

 I am also putting some solid work into a meal planning spreadsheet that will help allocate space to various plants in a hydroponic system while cross-referencing those crops against USDA nutritional data. My goal there is to be able to demonstrate whether or not a given allocation of space meets nutrition guidelines on a weekly basis. This feeds back into my long-term goal of designing a self-sufficient habitat, so I feel good about that progress.

As an editorial note, I considered removing my budget post entirely since it is a political animal and is quite subjective. In the end, I've decided to leave it as is. Suffice to say, I'm voting Sanders. His budget is strongly backed by evidence and reflects the consensus opinion of most professional economists (the ones doing economics, not the ones appearing on TV to support their generous benefactors). Hopefully any who disagree will be able to objectively consider the rest of the blog's content.


  1. Hi Chris. Have you considered snails as a protein food? It is high in protein (12-16%) and iron (45-50 mg/kg), low in fat. In Heliculture they are bred in fairly compact pens. They also eat almost anything, even paper. It could be suited to a space habitat.

    1. I hadn't considered them, no.
      They reproduce like crazy and do indeed eat just about anything. Most likely they would be a useful addition for productivity, biodiversity and cleanliness of the aquaculture systems. The trouble with comparing them to other animal proteins is finding ideal feed composition and edible yield plus estimates of feed conversion ratios, growth rates and stocking density. Those are the five values I would need to determine how much volume they need, how much feed they eat, how much meat they produce (and how fast) and how much waste is left over.
      Snail shells are made of calcium carbonate in a protein matrix. These could be used as filler in many of the same applications as carbonate filler on earth (paints, plastics), but they may need to be processed to recover the nitrogen trapped in the matrix proteins. Another option is to apply heat, burning off the proteins and reducing the carbonate to lime and carbon dioxide. The lime would be useful as a mortar/cement, as a base for treating acidic solutions and as a source of calcium ions for electroforming / 3d printing structures that won't be exposed to water. An example of that last might be electrical cables used on airless bodies like the moon.