Magzimum

Greenhouses? Grow your own food in space realistically?

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I am looking for a mod that allows me to grow food (life support) in space, but to do this a little realistically. I have spent the better part of this Saturday researching the various mods (Snacks, TAC Life Support, IFI Life Support, USI Life support), and a bunch of mods that gave me some parts (greenhouses: from Biomass, Planetary Base Systems, MKS), and I found that they all seem to make life a little too easy on the space explorers for my taste. Food (or supplies, snacks) grows far too easily, and its production uses very little electricity. Sometimes it is complex in terms of balancing, but it never seems to require loads of sunlight or electricity - which I'd expect.

Does anyone have suggestions? I don't mind a complex or simplified "economy": both the Snacks mod (just 1 type of resource) or TAC life support (with its 6 types of resources) is fine. What I would like to find is a mod in which there are either compact greenhouses that consume realistic amounts of electricity for food production (meaning LOADS of electricity, forcing me to use stacks of Gigantors), or in which there are solar-based greenhouses with realistically low outputs, so that you have to build a lot of them (at least the equivalent of those stacks of Gigantors). 

I just cannot build a space colony in which all the food for my Kerbals comes from something no larger than a small shed, powered by a 1x6 solar panel. 

I'm sorry if the text above came across as more of a rant than a question. It probably was. :) 

Edited by Magzimum

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You could just make a ModuleManager patch to significantly increase the power consumption and decrease the output of the MKS/KPBS/etc. greenhouses if you feel they're unbalanced. Alternatively, Kerbalism adds it's own set of greenhouses which may be somewhat more realistic.

Of course, it adds plenty of other stuff that almost certainly will not be compatible with existing saves, so use it with caution unless you're making a new save.

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Have you looked at editing the config files for the LS mods? Often the resource requirements can be tweaked in the mods config files with just a text editor. If you do go this route you may want to make a Dev install of the game for testing so you don't mess up your "in progress game".

Edited by wasml

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I second Kerbalism, the greenhouse takes ~180 days for a crop to mature so you still need at least a 6 month stock of food. Also the crop is sensitive to radiation, I don't believe radiation actually kills the crop, it just delays its maturing. You can completely recycle the ammonia (via Kerbals) and mostly (or entirely?) recycle the water used but it increases the amount of water recycling you need, also the greenhouse leaks atmosphere (like other parts) and the leaked nitrogen is hard to replace except on the worlds with nitrogen-rich atmospheres: Kerbin, Eve and Laythe - maybe Duna. So for most locations it's not "closed loop" but ultimately requires nitrogen (and maybe water) as an input. Finally it's fairly heavy especially if you add radiation shielding. I haven't calculated the exact break-even point for bringing a greenhouse instead of more food, but it's probably about 2 years.

Edited by blakemw

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18 hours ago, blakemw said:

I second Kerbalism, the greenhouse takes ~180 days for a crop to mature so you still need at least a 6 month stock of food. Also the crop is sensitive to radiation, I don't believe radiation actually kills the crop, it just delays its maturing. You can completely recycle the ammonia (via Kerbals) and mostly (or entirely?) recycle the water used but it increases the amount of water recycling you need, also the greenhouse leaks atmosphere (like other parts) and the leaked nitrogen is hard to replace except on the worlds with nitrogen-rich atmospheres: Kerbin, Eve and Laythe - maybe Duna. So for most locations it's not "closed loop" but ultimately requires nitrogen (and maybe water) as an input. Finally it's fairly heavy especially if you add radiation shielding. I haven't calculated the exact break-even point for bringing a greenhouse instead of more food, but it's probably about 2 years.

Note that Pathfinder's greenhouses also work this way - and work with several LS mods.  (Though I believe Snacks! is the best integrated.)

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Well if you want to challenge and spice up your life support experience you could try the space stage coach approach to life support and interplanetary travel.

Basically the idea is that your life support and propellant mass are one the same giving you a ship made mostly out of food and water. Instead of carrying recyclers all waste products are used directly as, or processed into proellants. In other words the waste products you produce just sitting in your cabin in transit are used as propellants at your destination to capture and circularize your orbit.

Unfortunately not a lot of life support mods include engines that run off waste but this should be easy to pull off with some config file edits.

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They'd likely have artificial light, and solar panels, or a single "window" and a heliostat. Large windows and spacecraft are not a good mix.

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you could also check out Soylent, it uses solar powered greenhouse production for several life support systems

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