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Colonising Another Star System

generational starship proxima centauri

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#1    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 02:31 PM

How Many People Does It Take to Colonize Another Star System?
A multigenerational journey between stars would require a lot more passengers than scientists previously thought.


Popular Mechanics said:

Back in 2002, John Moore, an anthropologist at the University of Florida, calculated that a starship could leave Earth with 150 passengers on a 2000-year pilgrimage to another solar system, and upon arrival, the descendants of the original crew could colonize a new world there—as long as everyone was careful not to inbreed along the way.

It was a valiant attempt to solve a thorny question about the future of humans in space. The nearest star systems—such as our nearest neighbor, Proxima Centauri, which is 4.2 light-years from home-are so far that reaching them would require a generational starship. Entire generations of people would be born, live, and die before the ship reached its destination. This brings up the question of how many people you need to send on a hypothetical interstellar mission to sustain sufficient genetic diversity. And a new study sets the bar much higher than Moore's 150 people.

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#2    MissJatti

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 03:00 PM

hopefully not to many humans, dont want the new solar system overcrowded already, now, do we

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#3    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 03:20 PM

View PostSkeptcByMindBelievrByHeart, on 08 April 2014 - 03:00 PM, said:

hopefully not to many humans, dont want the new solar system overcrowded already, now, do we
That makes no sense.

This is not about how many humans will end up on a planet once we have colonised it, it is about the number we need to ensure we reach the planet in the first place. Population control AFTER colonisation is a totally unrelated issue.

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#4    StarMountainKid

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 03:37 PM

Really interesting link. I wonder how much resorces it would take (+ $) to build a ship (ships) large enough to carry and sustain 40,000 people.

We would have to be positive the planet in mind would be earth-like. The nearest earth-like planet may be really far away and require many generations to reach it. The ship I think would have to be a fun fun place to live in before anyone would volunteer.

People would have to be screened for suitability, also. If earth society were in desparate circumstances, this would help, but in a healthy society it may be difficutl to recruit psychologically healthy humans to sign up. I could be wrong, of course.

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#5    taniwha

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 08:59 AM

Theoretically you can reach a population of 7.5 billion with just one male and one female to begin with.  

For interstellar travel the population can be SIMPLIFIED much, much further than proposed.  The gene pool CAN remain diverse within a minimum population.

This is how that can be achieved.....

Selective breeding and artificial insemination.  DNA of millions of humans can be stored and transported in the LAB and surrogate WOMBS can be used to inject new LIFE throughout the course of the mission.  

Thats right.  The beauty of this system is now revealed.  You guessed it. 100% FEMALE!  From the Captain all the way down to the toilet cleaner!  

On reaching the final leg of the mission the MEDICS will pop the cork on the vial marked MAN, and the celebrations will begin :clap:!






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#6    skookum

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 09:14 AM

2000 years travelling across space.  Would it even resemble a human being by then?

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#7    lisaloveslilia

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 09:45 AM

I kind of wonder what the human race would do with itself after "evolving" for 2000 years on a spaceship.  How would they adapt to living on a real live planet?  I feel like they better start building this thing now and with all the ideas in my head of what they would need to sustain life for 2000 years, seems like they may need a couple generations to complete it.


#8    Ashyne

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 10:25 AM

It is highly possible that by the time we are ready for colonization of distant star systems, we would already have long transcended beyond our organic bodies and replaced them with mechanical ones that would not be affected by such biological concerns.

Edited by Ashyne, 09 April 2014 - 10:26 AM.


#9    Whisperer

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 10:52 AM

You'd actually need an A. C. Clark type of Rama vehicle or a Halo (Ringworld) type one to ensure all the proper viruses and bacteria came with you as well, not just the human genome package or create an artificial but hollow moonlet type of ship where the diversity of life provides for the psychological well being of a species grown and raised with the diversity of the world they were born from, to thrive...
Anything less may prove to be fruitless in the long run...

A series of ships is just asking for trouble as such a scenario would naturally produce competitive impulses to relieve boredom, ensuring a war between domains in one form or another...

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#10    Taun

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 11:33 AM

The only way I could see a "slow" colony ship making it with an intact, and sane, crew would be for the entire trip to be taken in some form of suspended animation - which we can not do yet...
With no demand on "living space" or life support (i.e. air, water, food, etc) you could pack them in like sardines, getting a much higher viable population at the distant end, and with no fear of the crew slowly going nuts...

Edited by Taun, 09 April 2014 - 11:33 AM.


#11    toast

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 11:39 AM

View PostTaun, on 09 April 2014 - 11:33 AM, said:

, and with no fear of the crew slowly going nuts...

Yes.
http://en.wikipedia....ark_Star_(film)

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#12    lisaloveslilia

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 11:43 AM

I'm no rocket scientist or anything and I know very little about the science of the speed of light but I kinda feel like we might master the technology of travelling as fast or faster than the speed of light before we could complete a slow starship to house 40,000 people for 2,000 years in space.  The advances we've made and continue to make technologically and scientifically in the last 20 years alone...makes me go this direction in my thought process.


#13    Sundew

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 12:01 PM

View Postskookum, on 09 April 2014 - 09:14 AM, said:

2000 years travelling across space.  Would it even resemble a human being by then?

The body degrades on even relatively short stays in space. Just ask anyone who has spent months on the ISS. Our muscles and bones would be so weak we might not be able to land on any gravitational body like earth, especially after multiple generations. Also, lifelong exposure to cosmic radiation can't be a good thing either and heavy shielding on a spaceship requires increased energy to transport.


#14    Taun

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 12:27 PM

View PostSundew, on 09 April 2014 - 12:01 PM, said:

The body degrades on even relatively short stays in space. Just ask anyone who has spent months on the ISS. Our muscles and bones would be so weak we might not be able to land on any gravitational body like earth, especially after multiple generations. Also, lifelong exposure to cosmic radiation can't be a good thing either and heavy shielding on a spaceship requires increased energy to transport.

They would have to design the ship to spin to simulate gravity, probably a cylindrical shape - at least parts of it... But you are right, constant generational exposure would definitly have a major detrimental effect upon humans...


#15    taniwha

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 12:43 PM

View PostSundew, on 09 April 2014 - 12:01 PM, said:


The body degrades on even relatively short stays in space. Just ask anyone who has spent months on the ISS. Our muscles and bones would be so weak we might not be able to land on any gravitational body like earth, especially after multiple generations. Also, lifelong exposure to cosmic radiation can't be a good thing either and heavy shielding on a spaceship requires increased energy to transport.

You perfectly describe how I feel after a hard days work lol...

View Postskookum, on 09 April 2014 - 09:14 AM, said:

2000 years travelling across space.  Would it even resemble a human being by then?

Thats a good point... We may still look human,,, but,,,???

Edited by taniwha, 09 April 2014 - 12:44 PM.

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