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RE: starship-design: Re: Starship design

Yes, it all depends on what role we see these explorers filling.  As
"Hero", it is obviously better for our psyche if they return.  As
"Pathfinder", returning does not seem so important (given that they
could live a full life wherever they are).  Certainly you'll be able to
find explorers willing to go on such a one-way journey.  Would we be
willing to send them?

As far as living a full life, this seems easier the more people that go
on the journey.  Living a full and happy life alone could be nearly
impossible.  With a few people it would be difficult.  With hundreds it
is simple... of course, at that point we're talking colonization, which
might be beyond our scope for a first mission.

The fact that our perceptions of the purpose of the mission matters is
important.  I am reminded of a time when I read Clarke's "Songs of
Distant Earth".  I always felt weirded out by the colonies, and didn't
know why.  Then when I got to the part where the vessel from Earth
arrives I felt much better.  It's because the colonies were not founded
by people from Earth, but rather machines from Earth carrying genetic
material.  It felt... discontinuous, like it really wasn't "us" out
there.  Of course, it WAS us.  Humans were conquering the stars - but
there was no real psychological link for me.  But seeding surrounding
star-systems to insure the survival of the species is a perfectly valid
reason for star-travel.  It's just that my perception of star-travel has
always been one of exploration... perhaps even Star Trek-like.  So the
ship from Earth "felt" much better to me.  (It's not that it was from
Earth that was important... the important fact is only that it is crewed
by people who have more of a link to home... they could have been born
in another starsystem somewhere for all I cared... as long as their
parents, or parent's parent, or whatever at somepoint actually travelled
from the Earth.)

Same thing with cloning.  If I left some DNA samples behind when I died,
to be cloned five hundred years from now into a new me... well, it's not
like traveling to the future, is it?  It's not really ME.  It's my
genes, it's an identical body - but that's it.
David Levine                                david@actionworld.com
Director of Development               http://www.actionworld.com/
ActionWorld, Inc.                                  (212) 387-8200
"The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once."

> From: 	Steve VanDevender[SMTP:stevev@efn.org]
> Kelly, human history is full of explorers going on one-way trips,
> even intentionally.  Just because such a project wouldn't be likely to
> get funding from a paranoid hide-bound NASA doesn't mean that it
> couldn't happen under different cultural conditions.