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Starship Air

POSTED BY: RALLEM
UPDATED: Monday, September 8, 2008 13:54
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Sunday, September 7, 2008 1:32 PM

RALLEM


I am watching Out of Gas at this time and a question which has often popped up in my head came back. I understand in real life and in science fiction that air would have to be cleansed and recycled and maybe even artificially produced, but why aren’t the people on these ships raising potted plants in their rooms? Sure a little water and some ultraviolet light would be needed, but the plants could help the situation some if the atmospheric stabilizers were to malfunction for some reason. In a story driven Sci-fi series like Firefly it would seem like the plants a person chooses to keep could flush out their character more and reveal them better.



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Sunday, September 7, 2008 5:40 PM

SIGMANUNKI


The volume of CO_2 that any one plant can convert would be far too little to make any difference in such a situation.

----
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Monday, September 8, 2008 2:14 AM

SHINYFRYE


Rallem, It's a good Idea, But I have to agree with Sigmanunki. Plus I think water and ultraviolet light would be Absolutely Necessary and given the situation
I think it's safe to say Very scarce. Thanks for the Ideas, would love to hear more!

...Also, I can kill you with my brain.

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Monday, September 8, 2008 7:56 AM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by rallem:
I am watching Out of Gas at this time and a question which has often popped up in my head came back. I understand in real life and in science fiction that air would have to be cleansed and recycled and maybe even artificially produced, but why aren’t the people on these ships raising potted plants in their rooms? Sure a little water and some ultraviolet light would be needed, but the plants could help the situation some if the atmospheric stabilizers were to malfunction for some reason. In a story driven Sci-fi series like Firefly it would seem like the plants a person chooses to keep could flush out their character more and reveal them better.

NASA has done experiments, apparently they need about 20 square metres of cultivated land to produce enough oxygen for one Human. You could use some sort of genetically engineered Algae, which could also be used as a basis for food manufacture, but I imagine that the atmosphere processors are used because Firefly's advanced technology is more efficient overall than Algae tanks, or something.



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Monday, September 8, 2008 8:50 AM

RALLEM


I'm not advocating the use of plants to replace an air purifier or environmental generator system, just a few in each person’s room to help out with air if the system ever went down. I think if for example Jayne had a banana plant with a few other plants in there then not only could the plants help him deal with stress while he takes care of them, but he could also use the fruit of the plant as a quick and nutritious snack. I know that banana plants can be raised indoors because while in school one of my elementary grade teachers raised on in the class room, and as far as ultraviolet light goes a u v bulb can be placed in any standard lamp or light socket so that shouldn’t be a problem and water shouldn’t be a problem in the ‘verse.



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Monday, September 8, 2008 9:12 AM

CITIZEN


You initially said that plants could be used to help produce air if the purifiers went down, which, no, because you'd need to feel the cargo bay with biomass to get any usable level of oxygen. Point is, a few plants in everyone's room, wouldn't help if the air ever went down. Plants also respire, they take in Oxygen and 'breathe' out Carbon Dioxide. This is off set by photosynthesis, which emits oxygen, but that only works in sunlight...

As for growing them for other purposes:
Ultraviolet is harmful to the eyes and skin, so no you wouldn't really want it blaring away at all times. You also assume, probably incorrectly, that the light fixings in Serenity are just standard bulbs that they can replace at VerseMart. I imagine that by this time in the future they're using some sort of everlasting LED technology, so that replacing a lightbulb is not an everyday occurrence, but a major operation. I rather doubt it's as simple as swapping a lightbulb.

I also question the assumption that water isn't a problem. The one time we see anyone doing something as wasteful as washing, it's in a tiny tin bath. Most resources seem scarce, so why not water as well?

It doesn't address the cost of these plants either. Most of the food is of the manufactured protein variety, Badger had an Apple to show off how rich he was. I rather imagine owning a banana plant is somewhat out of the price range of a mercenary living hand to mouth.



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Monday, September 8, 2008 9:24 AM

SHINYFRYE


Good point about the ultraviolet bulb. I'm not sure on how the water works on the ships If it's stored in tanks then recycled or dumped in space when used. I will try to look into it. As far as Jayne taking care of a plant to relieve stress, I can't picure that, To me he seems more like the type to hit or shoot something. But I could picture him eating the banana. :)


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Monday, September 8, 2008 11:20 AM

SIGMANUNKI


Quote:

Originally posted by ShinyFrye:

Good point about the ultraviolet bulb. I'm not sure on how the water works on the ships If it's stored in tanks then recycled or dumped in space when used. I will try to look into it.




I would imagine that having to last days (or more, OoG was over a week wasn't it?) that recycling is the only feasible way to go about it i.e. water has a lot of mass and storage space is be limited. Not to mention that frozen water in space would be a (nasty) hazard at the speeds they'd be travelling.


Quote:

Originally posted by ShinyFrye:

As far as Jayne taking care of a plant to relieve stress, I can't picure that, To me he seems more like the type to hit or shoot something. But I could picture him eating the banana. :)




I highly doubt Jayne has a green thumb either.

I would imagine that Jayne works out to relieve stress and I would think that he would imagine Inara eating the banana rather than eating it himself

----
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"We don't fear the reaper"

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Monday, September 8, 2008 12:02 PM

RALLEM


Quote:

Originally posted by citizen:
You initially said that plants could be used to help produce air if the purifiers went down, which, no, because you'd need to feel the cargo bay with biomass to get any usable level of oxygen. Point is, a few plants in everyone's room, wouldn't help if the air ever went down. Plants also respire, they take in Oxygen and 'breathe' out Carbon Dioxide. This is off set by photosynthesis, which emits oxygen, but that only works in sunlight...

As for growing them for other purposes:
Ultraviolet is harmful to the eyes and skin, so no you wouldn't really want it blaring away at all times. You also assume, probably incorrectly, that the light fixings in Serenity are just standard bulbs that they can replace at VerseMart. I imagine that by this time in the future they're using some sort of everlasting LED technology, so that replacing a lightbulb is not an everyday occurrence, but a major operation. I rather doubt it's as simple as swapping a lightbulb.

I also question the assumption that water isn't a problem. The one time we see anyone doing something as wasteful as washing, it's in a tiny tin bath. Most resources seem scarce, so why not water as well?

It doesn't address the cost of these plants either. Most of the food is of the manufactured protein variety, Badger had an Apple to show off how rich he was. I rather imagine owning a banana plant is somewhat out of the price range of a mercenary living hand to mouth.



More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
No one can see their reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.
]

Quote:

I am watching Out of Gas at this time and a question which has often popped up in my head came back. I understand in real life and in science fiction that air would have to be cleansed and recycled and maybe even artificially produced, but why aren’t the people on these ships raising potted plants in their rooms? Sure a little water and some ultraviolet light would be needed, but the plants could help the situation some if the atmospheric stabilizers were to malfunction for some reason. In a story driven Sci-fi series like Firefly it would seem like the plants a person chooses to keep could flush out their character more and reveal them better.


I still stand by what I said originally in that any number of plants would help even if not much. I am not advocating that the ship should be a traveling biosphere, (actually that would be interesting) and the plants wouldn't take over for the ship's systems only help give the crew more time to fix the problems. There are of course other reasons for crew members to keep plants on the ship.

Quote:

Photosynthesis takes place primarily in plant leaves, and little to none occurs in stems, etc. The parts of a typical leaf include the upper and lower epidermis, the mesophyll, the vascular bundle(s) (veins), and the stomates. The upper and lower epidermal cells do not have chloroplasts, thus photosynthesis does not occur there. They serve primarily as protection for the rest of the leaf. The stomates are holes which occur primarily in the lower epidermis and are for air exchange: they let CO2 in and O2 out. The vascular bundles or veins in a leaf are part of the plant's transportation system, moving water and nutrients around the plant as needed. The mesophyll cells have chloroplasts and this is where photosynthesis occurs.





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Monday, September 8, 2008 12:34 PM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by rallem:
I still stand by what I said originally in that any number of plants would help even if not much. I am not advocating that the ship should be a traveling biosphere, (actually that would be interesting) and the plants wouldn't take over for the ship's systems only help give the crew more time to fix the problems. There are of course other reasons for crew members to keep plants on the ship.

Yeah, the point is that a few potted plants wouldn't help even a little bit, and given that plants actually USE oxygen rather than release it when they're not photosynthesising, it's possible they might be a drain.

Potted plants won't help even a tiny bit.



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Monday, September 8, 2008 12:48 PM

RALLEM


I think they would. Sure the u.v. lights would have to be on at a time of emergency which might be difficult, but considering their return at those times it might be a wise decision on the part of the captain to relinquish some power to the plants. It would take several plants in each room to help out and the person or people in each room would have to be in those rooms to receive any benefit from the plants, but I would think all non essential personnel would be in their rooms anyway so they don’t get in the way. I think I would want to raise a banana plant and maybe some tomatoes, squash, blueberries, and other types of leafy food plants because flowers just aren’t my thing.

Here is another question, why didn’t Mal have the two shuttles leave their doors open to create air? Also why not maybe jury-rig one of the shuttle’s coils to place on Serenity’s engine? It seemed like the part was a universal part for spaceships. The answer probably is story based.

Oh and I realize there probably would be a temperature problem when the ship's environmental systems are down, but that is something which could also be worked around in my opinion.




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Monday, September 8, 2008 1:29 PM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by rallem:
I think they would. Sure the u.v. lights would have to be on at a time of emergency which might be difficult, but considering their return at those times it might be a wise decision on the part of the captain to relinquish some power to the plants. It would take several plants in each room to help out and the person or people in each room would have to be in those rooms to receive any benefit from the plants, but I would think all non essential personnel would be in their rooms anyway so they don’t get in the way.

Urgh. I'm hoping not to sound too snippy, but you're really not listening to me. It takes TONS of biomass to supply oxygen for one person. I get that's not what you're saying, you're just saying extend time, but still you'd need ton's of biomass for Serenity's crew size to have any noticeable effect. A few potted plants can't make a difference, even if there was hundreds of plants, you're probably talking about seconds of extra breathable air. You'd be far better off with an oxygen candle:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemical_oxygen_generator
Quote:

I think I would want to raise a banana plant and maybe some tomatoes, squash, blueberries, and other types of leafy food plants because flowers just aren’t my thing.
But as I said, those sorts of things are incredibly expensive in Joss's universe. Rich people have these things, I doubt you can get a dozen seeds for some donkey fur and a pack of food pellets. I think I would want to own a yacht, doesn't mean I can afford one.
Quote:

Also why not maybe jury-rig one of the shuttle’s coils to place on Serenity’s engine? It seemed like the part was a universal part for spaceships.
But the shuttles have a completely different drive system. By the sound of it they used stored oxygen, rather than generated.



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Monday, September 8, 2008 1:48 PM

RALLEM


The price of seeds probably would be very expensive, but then again they did have a bushel of apples on board and could plant those to get saplings. Apple trees are too big for any mid sized freighter like Serenity, even though apple trees are highly able to be pruned, but could you imagine the profit for selling their saplings? That is of course considering the apples weren't hybrids, but who knows.



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Monday, September 8, 2008 1:49 PM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by rallem:
That is of course considering the apples weren't hybrids, but who knows.

Or irradiated.



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Monday, September 8, 2008 1:54 PM

RALLEM


True, but even then they could grow saplings and they could maybe con a conman into buying the trees not knowing they would never bear fruit for years.



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