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I suppose part of the explanation is that in Aniara, the ship is always in space but still as far as carrying supplies for years that seems inefficient.

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It doesn't have supplies for years, it has supplies for a few months which the crew then eke out by supplementing with edible algae. Since the journey was intended to be three weeks, presumably with a three week turnaround, this seems to be the correct amount of supplies.

Captain: How soon can we increase algae production to cover our food needs?

Officer: Immediately. It won't burden the oxygen system.

Captain: Restaurants? How long can we last? When do we run out of supplies?

Officer: It depends, but in two months we'll start noticing a difference.

Captain: Including the algae?

Officer: We can survive on it.

Everything else the ship needs for its long-term survival is already aboard. It makes its own air, has a water purification plant, carries a handy supply of spare parts and is able to power itself through a nuclear engine.

  • I would argue that making a ship that can last in space for years when in most plausible scenarios it need only be in space for months (if its engines died and then a rescue mission were mounted) is overkill unless there turns out to be some reason that ships often go off course for long periods in which case who would fly? The other possibility is that it is designed to not need much resupply because resupply is expensive so while journeys are short it is a craft that is meant to be self-sufficient for very long periods. – releseabe Dec 27 '19 at 8:18
  • @releseabe The ship is a luxury ship. It is suposed to be reusable, not a thing of using once and throw away. It makes sense to have a generator of oxygen and water. – Roberto Dec 27 '19 at 8:53
  • Any sea-going luxury ship is also reusable -- I did not mean they would scrap the ship -- but has to be periodically resupplied. In space an argument could be made for the ship to be made to avoid needing frequent resupply since water and food are very heavy so it is plausible that normal operation was that the ship produced/recycled essential things to save on costs. – releseabe Dec 27 '19 at 8:59

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