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Re: RE: starship-design: Numbers needed for Colonization (was Antiproton-Cataly

In a message dated 4/28/98 3:01:08 AM, f96bni@student.tdb.uu.se wrote:

>First off, I'm new to this list so If i kinda "mess up" please try not to
>hurt me (too much) :-)
>A litle bit about myself:
>I'm a soon to bee Engineer (Msc in Engineering Physics with a Materials
>science specialization). Just finishing up my thesis right now...
>I live in Uppsala, sweden. So english is NOT my first language so if I
>make linquistical errors, that's probably why...
>I have a Keen interest in Astronomy, Space physics and Space Engineering,
>I've also tried to take a few courses in those areas (Not too many though,
>there are not many Well-PAYING jobs in those areas, at least not in
>sweden.) My other interests consists of Basketball, role-playing and
>Well, enough the introduction...

Welcome to the group.

>On Mon, 27 Apr 1998, L. Parker wrote:
>> > I also disagree with the idea of having a heavy colonization
>> > vessel. Just outfit Explorer
>> > size ships for colonization and build up the number of people
>> > on your colony slowly.
>> > If you must colonize in large numbers use an Explorer with a
>> > caretaker crew of say a hundred or two hundred people and put the rest
>> > in suspended animation of some kind,
>> > dead people don't eat, produce much waste or need private
>> > quaters, you could probably
>> > get an Explorer to haul 1000 people including the crew if you
>> > put 800-900 of them in suspended animation.
>> A colonization vessel would have to carry 10,000 people minimum. Explorer
>> can't do it with or without suspended animation.
>> >
>IMO, there are TWO main things which needs to be considered for
>determining how large a "colonization force" has to be. These are in turn
>affected of which colonization SCENARIO is availible.
>I'll try to iron out the 3 main "crude" clasifications of scenarios first:
>We find a FUNCTIONING Eco-system, which provides most of our needs
>(food, air, water, etc) and which DOES NOT kill us (by Diseases or other
>Chances of having this kinda luck is propably small, but if it occurs
>should OF COURSE be taken advantadge of!!! (This is like winning the
>"Sweepstakes prize".)

Yeah this one would be at least 1,000,000 to 1 odds.

>We decide to build a totaly SELF-CONTAINED colony, either in space or in a
>SEALED structure on a planet surface. (This is probably the most likely
>case IMO) This will probably be posible for almost ANY system which we
>would be interested in.

Agreed, probably easier and safer in space.  Certainly harder to mine and keep
out contamination on the ground.

>We decide to introduce Life-forms into an otherwise DEAD or UNEVOLED
>Eco-system, in essence terraforming the planet in question. (This will
>probably be WAY beyond our resources and Knowledge for quite a while.) In
>any case, this kind of colony would almost certanly be preceeded by one
>built as in scenario 2...

Also true, but you have to be REALLY patient!  ;)

>SO, which are the two main criteria???
>First: We must bring enough INDIVIDUALS to ensure that we have enough
>"genetic diversity", to protect vs Inbreeding and such things.
>Unfortunatly my Biological/medical knowledge is way to poor to know have
>many this is, maybe someone else knows??? In addition, in both scenario 2
>and 3, we must also bring enough of all SUPORTING life-forms to ensure the
>same diversity.
>Secondly: We must bring enough INDIVIDUALS or have a high enough
>REPRODUCTION rate to make the colony grow "fast enough" to be "economicly"
>viable and self-suporting...
>Personally I'd think that WITHOUT any special measures we could propably
>DOUBLE (This is just 4 kids per couple after all.) the population each
>generation. (about 1/3rd of a century) And that could maybe be improved a
>lot trough "artificial" breeding programs or "cloning"... Any ideas???
>Well, this is just my ideas anyway...

Given all developed world countries are having to few kids to sustain their
population, assuming they tripple to quadruple their birth rate on a colony
might be unjustified.  Cloning doesn't help to much since the problem is
people not wanting enough kids.  (Thou genetic stock miight be exented with
frozen sperm and ovum if nessisary.)

Another factor is you need enough indeviduals to sustain your technical
society.  Currently that takes millions, but its unlikely to take less then
tens of thousands 50 years from now.  (We've had many arguments on that

>Bjorn Nilsson

Kelly Starks