Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Generation Ship, Is it possible?

   The first and largest problem would be the descendants. The concept of self-worth and a reasonable future would be the biggest problem in such a society, as it is in any society. Why they were trapped on the inside of a massive ship lumbering along through the galaxy needs to be addressed absolutely.
   Self worth is largely based upon ones perceived achievements in life. This of course is also a conceptional reality in large based upon perception of ones self to their peers, or possibly the public, or even having just  helped make life better. That brings me to the one and only scenario I think would work. Or could work as we are now at our evolutionary stage.
     Go nuts and build build build. And I am talking about the ship. Here is where if we could develop artificial gravity, this would really be amazing, but since we don’t have it, it’s out. Yep, still the big round tube. Only now, you really do build it all the way. You build a city within it. A real one. I'm talking about a big freaking ship here, not some thing where you actually know at all times that you are on a ship.  Rebuild our entire basis of society inside a ship. People would already be living and growing up on it while it was being built. Theirs would be a society all its own over a period of time. When it came time to leave the rest of us behind, (yeah, my arse I’d be staying), they wouldn’t be missing that need of self-worth, or of having no future. They would have their own world in basically every sense of the word. By the time this thing was built, and lets throw a bit of magic in here anyway just for fun and speed up the process. Lets say we actually built the basic of this thing in 200 years time start to finish. (I know that's impossible, we all hate each other too much yet.) 
   But even in that time period, people would have already been living aboard this new world. They have miles and miles of area, a complete real city that has or is still being built. Hell you could even go fishing in areas that had water out in a somewhat country style setting where things are grown and raised. You'll have new forms of sports arising, new types of view-able entertainment, and of course I mean actors and plays, movies etc. They would develop their own form of monetary system, hopefully more responsible than here and not for things such as food and medicine etc. (My society, I'll envision it my way. You all can have fun tearing it apart.) You'd have stores, shops, places to go and eat, new fads and new music over time. You'd have a new world. You'd have such a variety of people, that freedom of choice for careers would be basically not much different than on earth, with the exception of a few more, and a few highly modified. I suppose to help even more with the basic needs of human nature and the desire to do something different it would be possible to replicate the seasons to a point. If that could be done, you would have a true generation ship. 
   This is not a world ship, it isn't nearly big enough, nor nearly advanced enough. This is something that we could basically start building right now, right out there. We just need to do some mining of asteroids, and the one place i really haven't decided if I would  want to mine to this extent. Our moon. Anyway, forget the tech part again, and lets just assume we built this monstrosity.  It is quite possible that in such a scenario, they could actually become akin to the nomads here on earth.  Wanderers of the galaxy.
   This is the only chance I can see of a generation ship working in any scenario that it was built out of. Whether it was to save the race, because the world was overpopulated and needed room for it's people, or my reason; just for the simple fact that it could be done.
   This concept however would take the entire planet working together. And there goes my ship.
   I'm leaving out all other scientific concepts here such as brain mapping and cloning to keep original crew present. Or deep sleep or anything else like that. Also leaving out all tech ideas such as nuclear rocket system which we did build, ion drive, all of this. This is just about the legitimate society issues that would be faced. Looking for a way to fix that, and see if it could be held off for what shall be considered a very long age indeed. 
   Maybe if we'd stop shooting at each other, for even a freaking year, and shoot for somewhere close out there as a prototype colony on the moon, maybe we would learn something again in general. People as a group seem to need a goal. A place to reach to or they end up like we are now. Get the entire planet behind the same idea at once, and maybe we'll get somewhere finally. Yeah, I know, wish in one hand and...
   That's basically it there. I almost titled this differently. I almost titled it as follows.
   "Generation Ship, is it Possible or Why I can't sit for a Week." 
   Okay, got me a cushion and a padded chair. Have at it. Hope you all liked my little concept idea at least.


Phanriver said...

I have no doubt it is possible. Just look at all the amazing things humans have created through out history, okay maybe no flying cars yet, but still so incredible accomplishments. But once build keeping interest and drive another story. Look at the international space station, awesome idea and got started but never really what originally imagined and now falling into disrepair.

There are a few things I think needed if it is going to really work. First would be clear evidence of something worth going to and achievable. Columbus setting out really did not know he would find the America's and clearly had very faulty idea of how far they had to go or how long it would take but he did have destination in mind and promise of riches when he made it there. I imagine first contact would be the spark to build that ship. Maybe not physical contact but just an answer to one of the messages sent out into the cosmos. Knowing we are going somewhere and an idea of a direction to go in needed first and foremost.

Second, the problems with space travel that we already know about need to be addressed. Of course more problems that we don't know about yet will come up. The people in Wall-E good example of problem we already know about, bone and muscle loss and weight gain, several generations in and blobs possible result. Than solar radiation, all have to have answers before attempt. Trillion dollars into project not a good time to realize there is no answer.

Need an answer also if conception and carrying to term possible for generation ship too be attempted. Good article on that here:
We need to test that, lots and lots of testing. Hey it is for advancement and scientific discovery!

Beam Me Up said...

Oh MAMA! in the advancement of science I get to be a scientific researcher and a sleezebag at the same time! No one would question my dedication or my research conclusions.....Phanriver if you please, I am prepared for my first research posting....

Beam Me Up said...

Ok, the first consensus is that it IS possible to build a generation ship. I am going to have to take issue with that, we still can not build a self sufficient life support system for even 3 humans. Our finest effort to this point keeps up to a dozen people alive for several months and it is little more than a fancy metering and chemical scrubber system. It is not even a closed system and requires thousands of pounds of volatile gases annually. Scaled up to support the numbers of crew that would populate your generation tube ship design would most likely fill a sizable portion of open space that you foresee crew utilizing. So no matter how large you envision your craft, the likelyhood is that in reality it will need to be four times as large. The sad thing is that even with this size and scale the system would barly support the crew to maybe the gas giants and no further without recharging. This would get us maybe to the ORT cloud where once again we could fill the tanks But then yawns the huge spaces between the stars which the ship as a unit can not even come close to crossing. There are other problems, like construction, but this is the first thing that has to be addressed and soon. I suspect that we are still 50 to 75 years away from having a self sufficient life support system that can be easily scaled to any size.

Salvo one...

Phanriver said...

LOL yup important research needed!

As for possible, I should clarify what I meant by "possible". That is possible IF a compelling enough reason came along. It is a pretty big if too. We would have to know for sure there is something there and a direction to go in and some idea of a distance and time line.

As to what we can do with technology we have right now I will defer to minds much greater than mine. From a purely historical and sociological perspective, why not? Humans have amazing ability to see problem and than find a solution. From ancient Egypt, to Romans, and Incas and Mayans and Chinese to our own journey from horse and buggy to a trip to the moon in the blink of an eye when the right minds come together incredible things happen.
Advancements came because someone said "yes it is possible" and than went to work finding a way.

Right now those minds are busy working on problems right here and right now not fully dedicated to finding a way across the great divide. That may not always be the case though, okay highly unlikely to begin in our lifetime but it is possible.