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View Full Version : Would Arks or Generation Starships ever be needed



3rdvogon
2004-Dec-16, 03:03 PM
There seems to be a lot of talk here about if and when humans decide to break-out from the solar system will they do it on generation ships or fast ships. One thing that does not seem to be touched on in any great detail. I how human humans will be in another one or two hundred years from now. This century seems all set to be the century of biology. It could be that the pace of devlopment in biological technologies in the 21st century will mirror the rate of change in our understanding of electricty and electronics in the 20th. If that happens then there is not much chance that the humans of the 22nd and 23rd centuries will continue to be the natural born unenhanced animals of our own time. Oh I am sure the moralists and religious institutions will try and brow-beat politicians into outlawing and blocking such changes. Whilst that may slow things up a little it won't stop it (removed potentially sensitive political remarks). Now as to what these improved humans will be like is anyone's guess. Although I still think they will have two arms two legs two eyes etc if only that they can still feel human and relate to other humans. as to whether they have some sort of wireless modem hard wired into their nervous system might be an interesting idea (A sort of www of artificial telepathy. Now that would make a potent intellectual force) But one thing does seem likely and that is we will have a much better understanding of how we age and how to correct or nearly stop it as well as being able to repair or regenerate damaged parts/organs of our own bodies. Some biologists are already suggesting the human lifespan being extended into multiple centuries. In that context building a starship that could complete an out and return trip to another star system within a single human lifetime of 400 years is perhaps not so unreasonable - Providing of course that the crew had a very high boredom threshold.

ChrisRT
2004-Dec-16, 06:38 PM
Good points! Anyone telling you that humans won’t be near immortal in the coming centuries are fools...


Anyway, with the technological breakthroughs and revised theories, call me a fool but i think we will intercept and shatter the speed of light with new technologies in the coming decades-centuries... I’m going to maintain my stance of ignorance to anyone that says FTL travel is impossible even with the most complete and so called unflawed theories… After all, anything is possible...

antoniseb
2004-Dec-16, 08:45 PM
Originally posted by 3rdvogon@Dec 16 2004, 03:03 PM
In that context building a starship that could complete an out and return trip to another star system within a single human lifetime of 400 years is perhaps not so unreasonable
You are right that a lot of things may/will change.
I've assumed that if we colonize other star systems, it will be with people who were sent there as frozen zygotes, and raised by a self-assembling set of machines. I figure that haveing a payload of more than a few grams would make interestingly high speeds too difficult to achieve.

3rdvogon
2004-Dec-17, 10:17 AM
Originally posted by antoniseb+Dec 16 2004, 08:45 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (antoniseb @ Dec 16 2004, 08:45 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-3rdvogon@Dec 16 2004, 03:03 PM
In that context building a starship that could complete an out and return trip to another star system within a single human lifetime of 400 years is perhaps not so unreasonable
You are right that a lot of things may/will change.
I&#39;ve assumed that if we colonize other star systems, it will be with people who were sent there as frozen zygotes, and raised by a self-assembling set of machines. I figure that haveing a payload of more than a few grams would make interestingly high speeds too difficult to achieve. [/b][/quote]
Your reference to zygotes interests me.

I can see that viewed from the technical perspective Thrust / Reaction Mass / Payload Mass etc it makes perfect sense. Now this may sound strange given my earlier remarks about re-engineered humans but I still think you would benefit by having generations of humans raised by other humans. Unless we also redesign so much of how our brains work then human infants will still crave a parent or parents that they can relate to. Chickens and Ducks can fixate on a mechanical feeeder as a surrogate mother but I think we are a little too complicated for that. Machines might be able to provide the 1st generation colonists the facts about where they came from but would they be able to supply a decent cultural/social framework. If on the other hand the "Machines" are so advanced that they are to all outward appearance human, combined with perfect simulation of human empathy - then we might as well not bother with humans at all and leave universe and the inheritance of our destiny to them. My personal feeling is that whilst perhaps a large portion of the colonists (passengers) might well travel as Zygotes you would probably benefit from having some humans as a start-up crew to set the society going. Of course if we did decide to take along any flora or fauna with us then that would almost certainly travel in zygote/seed form (Mind you we should be wary of that just look at some of the damage we did on this planet introducing plants and animals to continents where they were previously unknown.

antoniseb
2004-Dec-17, 02:26 PM
Originally posted by 3rdvogon@Dec 17 2004, 10:17 AM
Unless we also redesign so much of how our brains work then human infants will still crave a parent or parents that they can relate to. Chickens and Ducks can fixate on a mechanical feeeder as a surrogate mother but I think we are a little too complicated for that.
Clearly you understand most of what I&#39;m saying. On this front, the first generation of zygotes would be raised by very human looking and behaving machines. I also don&#39;t think that human-like infant-nurse robots will be something that has to be invented for this effort. I think such a launch is one to three centuries off. What we&#39;d be able to build machine-wise will be pretty amazing to our early 21st century eyes.

GOURDHEAD
2004-Dec-17, 03:24 PM
Within 2 or 3 centuries after serious initiation we can have ships capable of achieving more than 0.5c speeds and trips of 5 light years in less than 40 years. The crews can be mostly female, maybe totally female, with a sperm bank and perhaps a supply of zygotes to maintain the broadness of the gene pool. A carefully selected subset of Earth biota will be included so they can eat and establish colonies in places they find that can be made suitable for human habitation.

Boredom can be attenuated by maintaining the vehicle and being in constant communication with Earth. They may forget the question before the answer arrives but this is an accomodation that can be learned. After reaching AC, they will be only 4.3 years late knowing about the "current" Earth news as will Earth be in knowing of their status.

The mind set of individuals on such trips should not include returning to Earth, although some of them may, if we can reduce the one way trip time to 10 years. The long term goal should include moving huge populations in order to protect them from pending disasters.

spacepunk
2004-Dec-17, 04:50 PM
the moralists and religious institutions will try and brow-beat politicians into outlawing and blocking such changes. Whilst that may slow things up a little it won&#39;t stop it (removed potentially sensitive political remarks).

Are you promoting the "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley ?&#33;

ChromeStar
2004-Dec-17, 07:07 PM
hi guys

a excelent documentry was broadcast on the discovery channel a while back and tends to be repeated (atleast in south africa) it is called EXODUS EARTH it talks about all of these points.

i believe that FTL is possible however is to complicated to use at current and perhaps it will never be used due to these attributes. i&#39;m possitive Warp technology will become available rather then going as fast or faster then light to get to a point bring that point 2 you faster then light.

space arks may become a reality, but why bother with them, unless earth is dead and there is nowhere in a solar system to go?

eburacum45
2004-Dec-20, 02:29 PM
Wishing for things doesn&#39;t make it so; if we want to colonise the galaxy we should make plans to do so using known technology, not unknown.

Space arks would be slow, but probably do-able; faster ships with zygotes and parental robots would probably also be do-able and would be much faster.
I like to remind people that biology will keep advancing as fast as, or faster than, rocket tech; it is possible that we will have cloning, inheritable genetic modification, even biostasis long before we have antimatter powered starships.

If at some point faster than light technology comes along that would be a welcome bonus.

GOURDHEAD
2004-Dec-20, 03:03 PM
There seems to be a lot of talk here about if and when humans decide to break-out from the solar system will they do it on generation ships or fast ships. Selecting from among several likely ambiguous meanings is fraught with opportunities for leading oneself astray. Are we specifying a ship capable of performing non-stop trips that last longer than an average useful human lifetime? Human lifetimes are somewhat fragile and although the average of such fragilities is less so, we are still dealing with more imprecision than is necessary when specifying design parameters that must be met by interstellar vehicles.

3rdvogon
2004-Dec-23, 10:31 AM
Originally posted by GOURDHEAD@Dec 17 2004, 03:24 PM
Within 2 or 3 centuries after serious initiation we can have ships capable of achieving more than 0.5c speeds and trips of 5 light years in less than 40 years. The crews can be mostly female, maybe totally female, with a sperm bank and perhaps a supply of zygotes to maintain the broadness of the gene pool. A carefully selected subset of Earth biota will be included so they can eat and establish colonies in places they find that can be made suitable for human habitation.

Boredom can be attenuated by maintaining the vehicle and being in constant communication with Earth. They may forget the question before the answer arrives but this is an accomodation that can be learned. After reaching AC, they will be only 4.3 years late knowing about the "current" Earth news as will Earth be in knowing of their status.

The mind set of individuals on such trips should not include returning to Earth, although some of them may, if we can reduce the one way trip time to 10 years. The long term goal should include moving huge populations in order to protect them from pending disasters.
The mind set of individuals on such trips should not include returning to Earth, although some of them may, if we can reduce the one way trip time to 10 years.

If humans in the 23rd century do live for 400 or 500 years. Also as you suggest it becomes reasonable to build ships that can make intersteller crossings of 10LY in say 40 years ship time. Then it would seem perfectly possible for a woman in that age to have a full and satisfying career as captain of an intersteller "Tramp-Steamer" hopping from star system to star system spreading humanity.