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This question has been bothering me since I was six years old- we know that Aunt Buru and Uncle Owen are moisture farmers, but what is it that they do? What is the process? Is it profitable? What is the yield and who buys it, or are they more self-sustaining than commercial? What types of jobs did the droids do?

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  • I assume the droid-related portion is regarding 3PO. I always assumed that he was to function largely as a diagnostic tool (as a translator between the vaporator and Owen/Luke) similar to how R2 communicates with... well, everything mechanical.
    – phantom42
    Commented Jan 10, 2014 at 4:31
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    I always imagined it was like the windtraps used in Dune to distill moisture from the air. Commented Jan 10, 2014 at 5:44
  • Besides windtraps, see first panel of giantitp.com/comics/oots0212.html .
    – b_jonas
    Commented Jan 10, 2014 at 7:25
  • Same kind of technologies as the wind traps on Dune ?
    – Max
    Commented Jan 10, 2014 at 12:50
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    If you want to see moisture-farming in real life, come and have a look at the damp problems in my flat. Commented Jan 10, 2014 at 13:05

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This is made clearer in the book of the movie - moisture farmers extract water out of the air and sell it to plant farmers.

Since we do not see any vegetation, it may be that there is limited arable land - but water can be extracted from the atmosphere elsewhere and then shipped to where it is needed.

As for process - this isn't detailed in the book, either. You can do this in real life though - moisture will condense on cold metal or rock at night, and you can then collect the dew as water.

Looking at the Lars home and their ability to purchase droids, I'd say there is reasonable money to be had - but we have no real idea of the size of operation they have.

C-3PO was purchased to translate and program the controls of the moisture "vaporators" used to extract the moisture. R2 units have mechanical repair uses as well as their more usual astrogation role.

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    Given that Tatooine is a desert world I would think moisture farming is quite important and thus lucrative. Water supply is most likely limited unless the planet has deep underground reserves. Even then they might be rationed and the moisture farmer might provide extra water beyond rations. Commented Jan 10, 2014 at 9:30
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    I always assumed that the "vaporators" are simply gigantic dehumidifiers.
    – Compro01
    Commented Jan 10, 2014 at 14:31
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    They extract water out of the air? So, basically, the moisture farmers are the cause of Tatooine being so dry?
    – Mr Lister
    Commented Jan 10, 2014 at 19:51
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    Hmm... With the ease of space travel, it seems like someone would harvest a couple of comets and make a killing on the water market. At the very least, any incoming ship would have any extra cargo space filled with containers of water to offload. Han could clear his debt with Jabba without taking dodgy fairs. Unless, of course, incoming water was taxed enough to necessitate smuggling it in. Commented Apr 28, 2016 at 16:47
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    Just as a side note, you can built homemade moisture farming equipment that even works in a desert with a sheet of clear plastic and a hole to stretch it over. A rock in the center with a cup underneath and when water condenses during the nature nighttime cooling, it will drop into the cup. Tastes pretty bad but it works.
    – Paul
    Commented Jun 5, 2018 at 11:52

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