I’ve started watching Origin on Youtube Originals and the first character is walking though what looks like a farm. I’ve hit pause for the moment because I’m reminded of Silent Running(1972) even though I do not know or remember the plots. In both cases they are growing plants that have real analogs in terrestrial farming today. And the density is similar too.
Recently I watched a video about the space shuttle and the ISS where the narrator was talking about the cost per pound to lift something into orbit. So that got me to thinking about the cost per sq.ft. and the overall production density. When watching Origin the character sees a small field of wheat. Just how much wheat does it take to make a box of of cereal.
Additionally, given the diversity of the planets food sources how many different machine types would be needed to harvest and process those different type of food? Are there foods that you simply could not produce? If you were going to mars would you takes seeds of every type knowing that not all the plants could be harvested in the first lifetime. So then what would you be willing to leave behind so that you had more of the stuff that you could use on day 1? What happens if the plants introduced in day one became poisonous to the mission? What happens if some condition exists that the plant becomes an alien on day 1?
UPDATE – or a modern scifi movie why would they create a device called “oxygen storage”. The ISS create oxygen from water. Water is almost as important if not more so. I’m not sure what the density of oxygen is in water and whether or not water is more efficient that way.