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RE: starship-design: Numbers needed for Colonization (was Antiproton-Catalyzed Propulsion System)


Welcome to the group. We always welcome fresh blood here <G>. Actually, this
discussion group is a forum for ideas and plans that will enable us to build
a starship sooner rather than later, so any sane contribution is welcome.

In defense of my colony ship numbers, I must first admit that I don't
remember the EXACT number of colonists required, but that I seem to remember
it was around ten thousand. This is because of genetic diversity, not
because of ship size or planetary climate or any of the reasons you
mentioned. In fact a planet is not even really necessary, but the ten
thousand person gene pool is an absolute requirement. Without a deep enough
gene pool ANY settlement will eventually die.

This gene pool does not necessarily have to be in the form of live human
bodies though. Frozen semen and ova are also acceptable but must be from
different genetic stock than the "live" bodies on board. This however
creates a few moral and ethical problems which are outside of the scope of
this discussion, so for clarity I will omit them for the moment. This option
is a good one for the livestock though.

I expect Caravan to be large because in part you are right, someone last
week already mentioned that it would be suicidal to send the colony out in
parts, and they were right also. You may send multiple colony ships out if
you want, but each one must be completely self sustaining with all
machinery, livestock, knowledge, etc. that they will need to survive on
their new home.

Which brings us back to the need for survey. Without a good prior survey, we
won't have any idea what we need to colonize a planet with. Face it, some
amount of Terraforming is going to be necessary no matter how Earth like a
planet may seem. Kelly is correct in as much as an Explorer class vessel can
do a much more thorough job than a Pathfinder. My purpose in proposing
Pathfinder was not to replace Explorer but rather to serve as a precursor to
Explorer. Explorer class vessels will cost much more than Pathfinders and
given the same propulsion technology for each, will be more massive and
unlikely to achieve the same velocity as a Pathfinder.

I think the ability to deliver even a limited survey crew quickly is
important. We can survey a hundred times as many systems with the same
quantity of personnel using Pathfinders as the first survey and following up
the 20 percent or so that prove out with Explorers prior to sending a