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Waspie_Dwarf

Colonising Another Star System

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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.

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

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

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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.

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Posted (edited)

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
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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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Posted (edited)

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
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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.

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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.

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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...

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Posted (edited)

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...

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

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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...

Yes. This is what almost all of these "colonization experts" fail to take into consideration. The human body is an symbiotic ecosystem made up of many other living organisms that work together. If we just transfer the human body to another world and not replicate the same biosphere that would allow these other microscopic organisms to thrive, then colonization would still fail in the long run.

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The cost ($) with the current technology would "break the bank" if you would.

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The cost ($) with the current technology would "break the bank" if you would.

I thought about that! Heck yeah. Thats part of why I said it would take a good looonng time to build!

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"Five hundred people picked at random today from the human population would not probably represent all of human genetic diversity . . . If you're going to seed a planet for its entire future, you want to have as much genetic diversity as possible, because that diversity is your insurance policy for adaptation to new conditions."

A voyage such as this would not pick people at random. Our own population has be theorized to already have been bottlenecked at a number as low as 2,000.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_bottleneck

"a Molecular Biology and Evolution paper suggested a transplanting model or a 'long bottleneck' to account for the limited genetic variation, rather than a catastrophic environmental change.[7] This would be consistent with suggestions that in sub-Saharan Africa numbers could have dropped at times as low as 2,000, for perhaps as long as 100,000 years, before numbers began to expand again in the Late Stone Age.[8]"

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As Long As Im on board,And My B.B Q Smoker is along for the Ride ! Its All Good ! THe More the Merry !

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

No, you can't. Genetically that simply wouldn't work.

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.

According to all known laws of physics it isn't possible to go as fast or faster than the speed of light, due to the fact that we have mass. Sure, there may be things like worm holes, but that isn't actually travelling faster than light, just giving the impression that we are.

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

Yes of course, why wouldn't we??

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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.

Ok, I'll ask you, how will life be sustained for 2000yrs?

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No, you can't. Genetically that simply wouldn't work.

Interesting. So when you genetically trace human ancestry, how many did we come from then?

According to all known laws of physics it isn't possible to go as fast or faster than the speed of light, due to the fact that we have mass. Sure, there may be things like worm holes, but that isn't actually travelling faster than light, just giving the impression that we are.

I think interdimensional space travel could be the key.

Yes of course, why wouldn't we??

Well one idea would be to build the space ship like a padded cell....

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Ok, I'll ask you, how will life be sustained for 2000yrs?

I don't know man! I get to thinking about how much we've advanced on this planet considering all the natural resources we have but it kinda boggles my mind how humans could continue to advance at the rate we are now...with technology n all, being couped up in a starship. I wonder alot of things. They'd have to be able to simulate quite a bit of what we have on earth I.e agriculture, industrial manufacturing, and much else still baffles me. The ideas float around my head but unfortunately I'm not brainy enough to spit em out! :-)

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I don't know man! I get to thinking about how much we've advanced on this planet considering all the natural resources we have but it kinda boggles my mind how humans could continue to advance at the rate we are now...with technology n all, being couped up in a starship. I wonder alot of things. They'd have to be able to simulate quite a bit of what we have on earth I.e agriculture, industrial manufacturing, and much else still baffles me. The ideas float around my head but unfortunately I'm not brainy enough to spit em out! :-)

Lol good answer though. I cant see the future and I guess thats why I ask, cos it intrigues me how others see it. Yeah maybe humans are susceptible to cabin fever, maybe there will be a synthetic dreams and artificial happiness, mind awareness drugs and chess....never forget the chess.

So a question for you...what would you definately take on board the space ship? Remember 2000 yrs is a looooong ride lol

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