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

On Tue, 28 Apr 1998, L. Parker wrote:

> Bjorn,
> 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.

Genetic Diversity _WAS_ one of the two factors I presented wasn't it???
aproximatly 10 000 is good enough for me... if it's actually 8 000 or 12
000 aint as important. Just the right order of magnitude is OK.

And YES a planet is maybe NOT neccesary for the colony to survive, but it
probably IS neccisary for the endevour to make "economic sense" even in
the long run. (If the target star system doesn't have planetary bodies you
wanna exploit, why go there???)

The other factor, the GROWTH RATE of the colony neccesary is more a
question of how "long-term" the people back on earth view the investment.
I.e. when it is neccesary that the colony starts to be a net producer...

> 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.

Yes, it probably is a better solution for Livestock etc... It might also
be a good "back-up" in case of any large "Disaster" happening to the
colony and wiping out part of the gene pool, though I agree with you that
the social/moral/ethical concerns may be a factor to prohibit it's use as
"standard procdure". 

You also have the question of giving birth to all theese "frozen embryos",
every woman can only be excpected to carry so many babies espesially since
in the early stages you'll probably need every adult member of the colony
as a productive worker as well...

> 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. 

Actually I disagree with this... It's probably MUCH more easy to adapt the
colonists than the planet if the changes are small. For exsample with
Vaccines, imunization or other "artificial" bio-medical solutions then to
try to change the whole microbiological Eco-system of the planet. This may
of course also have large social/moral/ethical concerns as well as
practical problems. (For one thing, it might be inposible for "Earth"
humans and "colony" humans to interact personally w/o risk of plagues.)

> 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
> Caravan.
> Lee