I'm of the opinion that if a society had pretty advanced developments in nanotech, then it could be reasonable that they could use nanodes to assemble food out of basic ingredients. Sure, if it gets it wrong then the effects could range from the taste being slightly off to instant lethality, but it's a lot less boring than cooking the food yourself.
My query is on the field of xenobiology:
One of my stories involves a planet that's pretty much a death world. In its history, human colonists belonging to a corrupt megacorp find this world and immediately detect a gold mine of minerals under the swamps. As opposed to finding an asteroid belt that probably contain just as much metal, they drop a bunch of prisoners and debtors on the planet to mine its riches while suppressing its existence due to the lack of alien life in human observed space.
Anyhow, the megacorp sets up massive arcologies and manufacturing facilities on the planet since the atmosphere is a bitch to fly through and there's no room on the equator for a space elevator. The resulting pollution, combined with some sloppy terraforming, would normally drive the wild life to extinction, which was sort of the plan. Instead, the ecosystem adapted to the new conditions at an alarming rate. Anyhow, the megacorp decides it's more trouble than its worth to keep the world running and cut it off from the rest of Human Occupied Space. The rest of the story is rather inconsequential.
My question is how could such rapid adaptation occur? I would like the reason to be at least a little plausible since it's somewhat of a significant plot point, and I don't want to resort to Applied Phlebotinum
like a good chunk of the technology in the story. I suppose if the story has psychic powers, then scientific plausibility is already half-way out the window.
edited 5th Mar '13 8:38:42 AM by MaxwellDaring