Technology 110 - Consumables and Life Support

No matter how powerful or advanced a ship is, if you can't live in it, it is useless, except perhaps as a paperweight on the universe's largest desk. Most sapient beings need a few essentials to keep them living, and a few other things to make them comfortable.

Heat

Basic air heating is achieved most often by passing ship's air around the SIR where it gets pretty hot, then running it normally. This isn't always reliable, however, as it is possible for the SIR to be powered down, in which case it isn't hot. This might happen in a derelict, or even on worlds where the SIR is being fuelled, and so most cabins on ships also have their own heaters which operate by direct energy transfer. Since these would only really be needed when the main power is offline they can operate from batteries or from an external power source.

Light

Lighting is almost universally provided by fairly basic emitters.

Gravity

The artifical gravity on board ships is provided by repulsor technology, detailed here.

Food

The basic food systems on ships are covered by the AutoChef. This handy device takes Raw Organic Subsistance Product (ROSP) from stocks, and adds flavourings and colourings to the substance to simulant different kinds of foods. In addition most auto-chefs are also able to access fresh foods stores, if available, and any number of frozen food stores. Autochefs are much better at simulating meats, breads and heavier vegetables than light, crisp foods like salads, or foods with markedly differing textures, such as cream cakes. The lower sections of an autochef house the mechanical devices that manipulate the ROSP. The upper section has several heating units. At the very top level crockery and cutlery are set up and the food is served. Cooking time varies depending on how much work the chef has to do.

The autochef can also deploy many kinds of drinks, both hot and cold. These are accomplished by mixing in additives from dedicated stores. Autochefs can be fitted with mixers to provide alcoholic or otherwise intoxicating beverages also, but these are of variable legality and many captains opt not to do so.

After eating the crockery and cutlery and any leftovers are returned to the chef which can then be switched to a recycling mode. In this mode the leftoevers are returned to the recycling plant and converted back to ROSP. The hardware is cleaned and returned to stores, and the entire internal mechanism is cleaned and sterilised.

Autochefs are nearly universal in one form or another, but other methodologies do exist. It's not all that rare to find 'normal' cooking facilities available such as you'd find in any planetside kitchen. The down sides of these are their size as you need several units to do the work of one auto. On the other hand most people find autochef fare to be barely edible.

Air

Air is recycled and cleaned continually. Most ships carry a reserve of oxygen or other suitable gas which is filtered into the ship air. Scrubbers remove toxins. Most ships carry far more breathable air than they do any other consumable. Many ships get rid of their bad air and take on fresh air in a near-explosive venting as soon as they are solidly landed.

Water

Water is provided through storage tanks that are linked to filters and recyclers. The convention is that water is stored in the lowermost bowels of the ship, though why this is the case has been lost in time.