Why did NASA send 12 whole potatoes, refrigerated but not frozen? And why send them along with us as in-pressure cargo rather than in a crate with the rest of the Hab supplies? Not just to eat it, but to actually prepare it. I cut each potato in to 4 pieces, making sure each piece had at least 2 eyes.
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The eyes are where they sprout from. I let them sit for a few hours to harden a bit, then planted them, well spaced apart, in the corner. God speed, little taters. My life depends on you. Normally, it takes 90 days to yield full sized potatoes. By setting the Hab temperature to a balmy There will be no foul weather, or any parasites to hassle them, or any weeds to compete with for soil or nutrients. With all this going for them, they should yield healthy, sproutable tubers within 40 days. I figured that was enough being Farmer Mark for one day.
A full meal for dinner. Time to see what Lewis had. Crappy TV shows. Countless entire runs of TV shows from forever ago. I prepped the tables and bunks for holding the weight of soil, and even put the dirt in place. The airlock is nothing more than valves and two doors. Equalize the airlock with your side of it, get in. This means you lose a lot of air each use. I have three airlocks in the Hab. That would have been awesome.
You might have injured people in there, or not enough space suits. You need to be able to get people out without exposing them to the Martian atmosphere. The airlocks on the Hab are much larger and completely different than the airlocks on the rovers.
The good news is each pop-tent has an air feed valve on the outside. Remember, these are emergency shelters. The occupants might need air, and you can provide it from a rover by hooking up an air line. The Hab and the rovers use the same valve and tubing standards, so I was able to attach the pop tents directly to the Hab. NASA was not fucking around with these emergency tents. The moment I pushed the panic button in the rover, there was an ear-popping whoosh as the pop-tent fired out, attached to the rover airlock.
It took about two seconds. I closed the airlock from the rover side and ended up with a nice, isolated pop-tent.
Then, after a few trips through the airlock with the air-loss automatically equalized by the Hab I got the dirt in. I repeated the process for the other tent. Everything went really easily. In high school, I played a lot of Dungeons and Dragons. In the game I played a Cleric. I always thought it was a really stupid spell, and it never came up. Roper saw something and took it out of context. Fortunately, I know the recipe: Take hydrogen. Add oxygen. I have a fair bit of 02 reserves, but not enough to make liters of water. Two high-pressure tanks at one end of the Hab are my entire supply plus the air in the Hab of course.
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They each contain 25 liters of liquid The Hab would only use them in an emergency; it has the Oxygenator to balance the atmosphere. The reason the 02 tanks are here is to feed the spacesuits and rovers. Anyway, the reserve oxygen would only be enough to make L of water 50L of 02 makes L of molecules that only have one O each. That would mean no EVAs for me, and no emergency reserves.
And it would make less than half the water I need. Out of the question. And I happen to have a machine whose sole purpose is liberating oxygen from C Yay Oxygenator!
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One problem: The atmosphere is very thin. Getting air from outside to inside is nearly impossible. The whole purpose of the Hab is to keep that sort of thing from happening. The tiny amount of Martian atmosphere that enters when I use an airlock is laughable. My crewmates took the MAV away weeks ago. But the bottom half of it stayed behind. NASA is not in the habit of putting unnecessary shit in to orbit. It left the landing gear, ingress ramp, and fuel plant behind. Remember how the MAV made its own fuel with help from the Martian atmosphere?
Step one of that is to collect C02 and store it in a high pressure vessel. So I have a plan for oxygen. The hydrogen will be a little trickier. I considered raiding the hydrogen fuel-cells, but I need those batteries to maintain power at night. I could bundle up, but the cold would kill my crops. And each fuel cell only has a small amount of H2 anyway.
The one thing I have going for me is that energy is not a problem.
I often talk about the MAV. But now I want to talk about the MDV.
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During the most terrifying 23 minutes of my life, four of my crewmates and I tried not to shit ourselves while Martinez piloted the MDV down to the surface. It was kind of like being in a tumble-dryer. First, we descended from Hermes, and decelerated our orbital velocity so we could start falling properly. Everything was smooth until we hit the atmosphere. Several staged sets of chutes deployed automatically to slow our descent, then Martinez manually piloted us to the ground, using the thrusters to slow descent and control our lateral motion.
landtragcosvipo.cf He exceeded all plausible expectations of landings, putting us just nine meters from the target. The guy just plain owned that landing. Thanks, Martinez! You may have saved my life! Not because of the perfect landing, but because he left so much fuel behind. Hundreds of liters of unused Hydrazine. Each molecule of Hydrazine has four hydrogen atoms in it. I did a little EVA today to check. The MDV has L of juice left in the tanks. Enough to make a almost L of water! Way more than I need! And dangerous. If I do it in an oxygen atmosphere, the heat and newly liberated hydrogen will explode.
At its root, Hydrazine is pretty simple. The Germans used it as far back as World War II for rocket-assisted fighter fuel and occasionally blew themselves up with it. All you have to do is run it over a catalyst which I can extract from the MDV engine and it will turn in to nitrogen and hydrogen. During this process, it goes through an intermediate step of being ammonia. You like the smell of ammonia? The chemistry is on my side. The question now is how do I actually make this reaction happen slowly and how do I collect the hydrogen? Or die. Time will tell. My idea is to make L of water limited by the hydrogen I can get from the Hydrazine.
I can create the 02 easily enough.