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

Again a little late...
(sickness and all)

On Wed, 29 Apr 1998, L. Parker wrote:

> Bjorn,
> > 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...
> Umm, well that was a given in the original problem statement. ALL colonies
> must be self-sufficient, therefore they are either net producers or at least
> non-negative. I'm afraid the concept of trade or commerce is out of the
> picture, at least until someone invents a much faster way of getting there.

First: Trade of information is certanly feasible! Trade of Physical
products may also be posible given that their Value is VERY high compared
to their mass... (Prototypes, biological/chemical samples etc...)

Personnaly I wouldn't consider a colony a net-producer UNTIL it starts to
become independant of it's INITIAL "infrastructure" (i.e. the "stuff"
brought along from Earth). Anyway, There are MANY reason why a colony
would NEED to be a pretty large Net-producer in many areas....

1) They would some how need to "repay" their investors... (Probably with
research more than anything else!)

2) They would need Growth to increase the size of the colony... (Both # of
people and Industirial and Infrastructure size.)

3) Unless the "light-barrier" can somehow be broken, it would be neccesary
to "Planet-hop" to get to further systems... That would mean that the
colony SHOULD be able to send out it's OWN colonizts in the forseeable
future... (a few Centurys, MAX!!!)

Now a few other Things:

To most Humans, even a Century is gona seem a VERY long time even quite
far into the future... Just look at the excitement about the upcoming
Milenium shift and I think that most will agree that projects that take
1000s of years will NOT be feasible from a socio-economic POV.
IMHO if something doesn't at least START to give results in a century,
forget IT...

Population Growth:
As someone pointed out, most industialized countries have trouble keeping
their population CONSTANT, never mind increasing it... Personally I'd
think that the Knowledge of how having lots of kids is a NECCESITY for the
colony will help somewhat. This is still one of the BIGGEST problems