1996-07-01

Optimization of Food Processing for a Lunar Base 961413

Food processing will have a significant effect on both system performance and crew habitability on long-duration human space missions. To maximize habitability, the food processing system must be able to utilize available food items for producing a palatable and diverse menu, while minimizing equipment, consumables mass, and manpower requirements. The authors' goal was to minimize the equivalent mass cost (as defined in earlier work) of the food processing system under constraints of nutritional adequacy, variety and hedonic acceptability. In a companion paper, we have developed a concept for organized analysis of food processing at a Lunar or planetary station. In this paper, we propose a way to optimize the cost-effectiveness of this concept for a Lunar base.
A four-man ten-year Lunar base was assumed for performing this analysis, based on previous work by Drysdale on regenerative life support systems. An equivalent mass approach was used, with the following equivalencies defined (Drysdale et al, 1994):
Equipment, consumables, and manpower requirements have been identified for all major food processing tasks within a bioregenerative life support system. Power and cooling requirements for food preparation are taken to be minimal in comparison to requirements for hydroponic farming. The baseline was a low-fat CELSS diet, such as identified by Langhans, with externally supplied foodstuffs accounting for 15% of calories. However, the analysis should be adequate for many different diets. Where possible, multiple-use equipment was baselined, with commercial data used to define cost factors such as mass and energy use. Consumables were identified and costed according to the source, in particular whether they are produced locally, such as tofu or flour, or shipped from Earth, such as spices. Draft estimates of the equivalent mass of a food processing system are about equal to 10% of the mass of a life support system. However, many of these items would be required for any scenario, including supply from Earth, and should not be considered as unique to a bioregenerative life support system.

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