A mega-project to mimic nature Biosphere 2 didn’t worked out on Earth. Unfortunately, dozens upon dozens of unpredicted problems appeared. Inhabitants needed to walk out of the sealed enclosure. We can’t risk with projects like this on Mars. We want to avoid unpredictability.
The lack of a powerful Sun, sand storms that can last for days (if not weeks) can add to the problem. Complicated fittings and several layers of glazing to deal with the dew point & extreme temperature differences dims down the light even more. A single crack, hard hit … can cause devastating consequences in matter of seconds.
Going underground is worth considering.
In this video I have tried to consider and condense a few ideas into one tunnel. Monocultures is not the best idea. It drains out soil and it’s an invite for pests and disease. We need to build up soil not to destroy it. We did that on Earth already.
Biodiversity and migrating animals (on free range pastures) like: goats, sheep, rabbits, chicken could mimic nature. Birds, bugs, earth worms, hopefully bees! This way diseases vanish. We can build, healthy nutritious, natural soil and therefore food. Just think about on our depleted farmlands, full of chemicals. This could be better.
Robots running up and down the carved rails could manage all the “heavy lifting”. Planting trees, picking up the tomatoes from aquaponic systems. Robots and A.I. can add a few extra crabs, frogs, to a flood and drain system to deal with the clogging. Robots can feed or catch fish in the wetlands. They can heat scan / fallow behavioral pattern of goats to figure out if they need medical consultation.
Snails on hemp canvas for start (to extend surface area) could cover basic protein needs. They can feed on lettuce, dandelion, greens, cucumbers, carrots.
Earth worms, bees & ants.
Building blocks of life itself. Without pollination we are in a great trouble.
Birds. Birds can travel seeds, essential microorganism for composting … fungi.
Most plants can’t extract Nitrogen directly from the air. Legumes, especially clover can extract it from the air. They deposit it in the ground. Other plants will be able to use it in time. It’s great for pastures.
Pasturing sheep, goats, chicken, rabbits, ducks on clover fields would build up soil lighting fast. We could plant fruit trees in no time. The more species / the more bacteria present … the more stability.
With hemp we could cover our needs related to: textiles, rope, clothing, paper, oil, bio plastic, oil-based paints, creams, moisturizing agent, cooking oil, insulation, biofuel and plastics. It can be mixed with other fibers like flax, cotton or silk. Seeds can be eaten raw, sprouted or in powder form. Beverages like: hemp milk and tisanes is an option as well. Hemp oil its full of saturated fats.
Ducks can feed aquaponic systems. Way less sensitive than fish. From feathers we can make pillows. Diversity is the key.
We started to have success with growing algae. Soon it will be a proven, reliable solution.
Extraordinary material to clean wastewater in a wetland environment.
Mangrove is an extraordinary environment to breed fish and black soldier flies.
They “sterilize” and transform organic matter like: dead animals, poop, leftovers before it starts to rotten into food. It’s the most efficient, easy, cheap, reliable, organic method to convert waste into the finest quality feed. They outcompete house flies and keep everything clean and safe.
Most farmed fish are fed with other fish. Fortunately, recent studies shown that these carnivorous species seem to respond exceptionally well to a plant diet: white sea bass, walleye, rainbow trout, cobia, arctic char, yellowtail, atlantic salmon, coho salmon. For biodiversity nature trails could be filled with fish as well. Way Better than monocultures.
Within nature trails … oysters can clean up water. It will be crystal clear.
Crabs can be paired with flood and drain aquaponic systems and nature trails. Great food source. They prevent the “clogged”, anaerobic parts of the ecosystem. They keep things healthy. Crayfish not to be forgotten.
“made” for the tunnels. They can produce massive quantities of high-quality food.
While earth worms wait … red wiggler jumps on food while it’s fresh. They clean up the mess before it could rotten or carry pathogens. No deadly bacterial diseases or e-coli. They build up soil.
Mealworms for a food source.
Flood & drain aeroponics.
A few months back I wrote an article about how to build the most versatile and cheap aeroponic or flood and drain system. A “carved” niche in a concrete floor to gather or hold water … with a metal bar in the middle. Blue is the water and yellow the growth medium. The blueprints.
Minerals needed for plants are abundant in the Martian soil. However unfortunately we need to eliminate some toxic elements as well.
Plants dry mass is mostly built up from carbon. CO2. Pasturing animals on crops, mushrooms could feed the plants in a natural way. Offices, schools shopping centers positioned near industrial food tunnels would compensate the high demand on both sides.
Co2 is heavier than air. It would accumulate at the button. To avoid the usage of “1 trillion” fans a (valley like) microclimate could be the solution. We just need to make sure there are temperature differences along the length of the tunnels. Air will ventilate naturally. Moisture or excessive dryness would equalize naturally without doing anything in particular.
Last year I built a few machines that from decaying organic matter (be it plants, or toxic animal waste) produces heat, water and co2. The extra co2 skyrockets plant growth at most species. Meanwhile sterilizes everything at hospital grade. It builds up soil in days instead of months or years.
Compared to traditional composting it doesn’t produce methane or laughter gas (that’s harmful to plants and us as well). It saves fortunes on chemicals, pesticides and on minerals as well. Nothing to burn, explode or rotten. It might be handy on Mars as well. A chart with the first … the smallest machine. “Kickstart” nature – the machine.
Plants evaporate lots of water. In a small enclosure that could cause mold and diseases. Dew point is the way to collect the extra humidity quite easily (and cheap). High temperatures & saturated air needs just a few degrees difference. A cooler water pipe would collect all of the extra moisture. Simpler than literally billions of dehumidifiers.