Feedstock for Foodstuffs on Exoplanets

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mouseshepherd mouseshepherd's picture
Feedstock for Foodstuffs on Exoplanets

I'm starting a game around exoplanet colonization, but in case starvation becomes a risk I wanted a clarification on what sort of feedstock makers require in order to produce edible food, and whether alien biomatter would work for it.
On the sidebar of page 44 of Gatecrashers it references isolated colonies experiencing hunger-related health issues, and Pathfinder dealing with a rogue colony by isolating them and thus "stare and weaken" them, but I wasn't sure if that's because 1. there was no biomatter at all for these colonies to use, 2. there are limitations on what can be used as feedstock, or 3. makers are too slow to mass-produce food for a full colony efficiently.

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
Makers (or autocooks in EP 2)

Makers (or autocooks in EP 2) should be able to disassemble anything organic to produce food. This includes human waste. There shouldn't be any problems there. Though, eating the same food goo might get tiresome after a while.

When someone isolates a gate to starve and weaken, I think they are trying let parts wear down and stress accumulate. The fabbers might be on lock down via remote commands. Any fabbers that still work might not have the blueprints to make replacement parts. Case morphs might be the worst affected. Also, fabbers probably won't accept unauthorized blueprints, such as the kind the colony might try to develop.

The above are some of the things that I would expect the Planet Consortium to have in their play book. Another faction, such as an autonomist colony, might be immune to such tactics.

nezumi.hebereke nezumi.hebereke's picture
I would argue that no system

I would argue that no system is 100% efficient, so you will need to restock your feedstocks, in addition to what is available via waste (plus you need a substantial power source). The majority of what you need is carbon, oxygen, hydrogen. That'll give you carbohydrates and water, which is easily 90% of your food mass. But over a longer term, you're going to need a lot more varied minerals. Of special note is phosphorous, which can be difficult to acquire in many environments, and over time will kill you, as well as most plant life you may have brought with you.

mouseshepherd mouseshepherd's picture
nezumi.hebereke wrote:I would

nezumi.hebereke wrote:
I would argue that no system is 100% efficient, so you will need to restock your feedstocks, in addition to what is available via waste (plus you need a substantial power source). The majority of what you need is carbon, oxygen, hydrogen. That'll give you carbohydrates and water, which is easily 90% of your food mass. But over a longer term, you're going to need a lot more varied minerals. Of special note is phosphorous, which can be difficult to acquire in many environments, and over time will kill you, as well as most plant life you may have brought with you.

So is it likely that any given exoplanet ecosystem--even if it's carbon based--is likely to be short on SOME sort of nutrients vital for typical biomorphs designed for terrestrial environments?

Also, since you mention it what ARE the power requirements for biofabrication, roughly?

CordialUltimate2 CordialUltimate2's picture
It depends a lot on your

It depends a lot on your interpretation of how magical is nanotech of Eclipse Phase.

For colony to be self-sufficient they need in broad terms:
1. Energy for their bodies and machines.
- food growers and preparators
- hydroponics of the future and autocooks
- feedstock makers for the above
- obtaining feedstock for above from environment or from waste
- reclamation of elements unavailable on the environment
- energy generation and storage
- batteries, tanks of metallic hydrogen etc.
- fusion, geothermal, hydroelectric etc. generators

2. Capability to create more of those and replace losses.
- ability to manufacture tools
- ability to obtain feedstock or reclaim it from trash
- ability to manufacture and create replacement parts for the machines used (both biological and mechanical)
- functional fabricators
- necessary blueprint and designs
- mining capability (for replacing the losses and obtaining more)

3. Knowledge to maintain all of the above

Did I forget something?

Anyway threaten any of these and a colony is doomed to fail in a shorter or longer timeframe.
Each of these can be a plothook for your gatecrashers.

The things that you mention in the original post all can be things that could be a reason.
Also sabotage as DivineWrath spoke.

As for the energy requirements for biofabrication... If you have the fabbers that can use raw CHON then the power would be SubstantialTM. Energy costs are 3rd most substantial cost of operation of chemical plants and the engineers do everything thry can to get 100% efficiency. So you cold expect power in megawatts for fabbers for a small colony. Less than a 100 people I guess.

For the autocook that uses preprocessed feedstock for example a starch powder, and a meat cell mixture then they would use probably as much energy as an oven.

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