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100-Year Starship

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100-Year Starship
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FingerUser avatarPosts: 354Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 7:13 amLocation: California

Post 100-Year Starship

So it seems as though NASA and DARPA are launching a year-long study into the possibility of a "100-Year Starship." That's a ship designed for the one-way transportation of colonists to a planet in another solar system. They also imply a deadline for this ship's construction. 100 years from now.

http://www.darpa.mil/news/2010/StarshipNewsRelease.pdf
The 100-Year Starship study will examine the business model needed to develop and mature a technology portfolio enabling long-distance manned space flight a century from now. This goal will require sustained investments of intellectual and financial capital from a variety of sources. The year-long study aims to develop a construct that will incentivize and facilitate private co-investment to ensure continuity of the lengthy technological time horizon needed.

This has got me thinking more about the logistics of such a journey. Not just the ship's design and propulsion, but things like the power structure, economy, ect. What sort of people would be desired for a trip like this? What sort of people are likely to volunteer for a trip like this?

I think it's wonderful that we're starting to finally, seriously look into this type of thing, rather than leaving it entirely up to science-fiction authors.
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Tue Nov 02, 2010 12:07 am
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NecrotrophicPosts: 6Joined: Sun Jul 04, 2010 5:24 pm Gender: Time Lord

Post Re: 100-Year Starship

Hm, I think the technology that we develop from the knowledge we acquire from this project will probably be amazing.

100 years? I wonder how many redesigns theyll have.

In any event, I fully support it.
Tue Nov 02, 2010 3:19 am
lrkunUser avatarPosts: 3831Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:37 pmLocation: R. Gender: Tree

Post Re: 100-Year Starship

I can only hope this pulls through. It'd be grand if we can travel around space. :D
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Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:38 am
UnwardilUser avatarPosts: 814Joined: Sat Jan 16, 2010 10:32 am Gender: Male

Post Re: 100-Year Starship

'Bout F-ing time is all I can say.
Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:58 am
ExeFBMUser avatarPosts: 169Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 10:39 pm

Post Re: 100-Year Starship

I don't see how any generation ship can be expected to achieve it's goals. After a couple of generations, or even one, you're going to have the ship crewed by people with no memory or personal connection to Earth. Why would they be interested in finding a new planet and colonising it? Their entire lives would be based in a self sustaining controlled environment. With little practical experience outside this, why would they want to face the harsh environment of trying to establish a colony in difficult and unpredictable conditions, for people they have no connection to?

I'd also think that Earth, and the people who sent them out on this trip would acquire some aspects of legend after several generations. Not that it is unknown to be true, but more as a disconnect between lifestyles and expectations. Whatever goals and objectives planned from Earth before departure, will be changed and evolved as new people take over the roles on the ship.
Tue Nov 09, 2010 10:12 am
MRaverzPosts: 1838Joined: Sun Jul 26, 2009 10:00 am Gender: Pinecone

Post Re: 100-Year Starship

But we'll be dead before it happens. :(
Tue Nov 09, 2010 10:37 am
sgrunterundtUser avatarPosts: 254Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2009 8:23 amLocation: Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen Gender: Tree

Post Re: 100-Year Starship

ExeFBM wrote:I don't see how any generation ship can be expected to achieve it's goals. After a couple of generations, or even one, you're going to have the ship crewed by people with no memory or personal connection to Earth. Why would they be interested in finding a new planet and colonising it? Their entire lives would be based in a self sustaining controlled environment. With little practical experience outside this, why would they want to face the harsh environment of trying to establish a colony in difficult and unpredictable conditions, for people they have no connection to?

I'd also think that Earth, and the people who sent them out on this trip would acquire some aspects of legend after several generations. Not that it is unknown to be true, but more as a disconnect between lifestyles and expectations. Whatever goals and objectives planned from Earth before departure, will be changed and evolved as new people take over the roles on the ship.


Their nuclear power source won't last forever. They will need to at least enter orbit around a star eventually. Once there of course some industrious people will want to expand - build more ships, to get more space and luxuries - colonize planets or asteroids - eventually send out more ships. Whether they build planetary civilizations or Dyson swarms doesn't matter much.

Basically, if we make sure that some people can survive the trip to another star, human nature will take care of the rest and humans will spread throughout the universe.

Whats the point in the end? Well thats the big question isn't it?
Last edited by sgrunterundt on Tue Nov 09, 2010 2:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Tue Nov 09, 2010 11:00 am
PatrickTheScienceGuyUser avatarPosts: 150Joined: Sun Jan 17, 2010 9:26 pmLocation: My House Gender: Pinecone

Post Re: 100-Year Starship

well this sounds like a plan, but in a 100 year trip, by the time they get there we will already be there. :/ it would be cool to see how they are managing a society, and how things have changed aboard.
When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad, and that is my religion. - Abraham Lincoln
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Tue Nov 09, 2010 11:36 am
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ExeFBMUser avatarPosts: 169Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 10:39 pm

Post Re: 100-Year Starship

sgrunterundt wrote:Their nuclear power source won't last forever. They will need to at least enter orbit around a star eventually.

That's assuming they don't develop their own renewable/more efficient power sources. Several generations of technological development in a environment largely focused on space travel should result in some significant improvements.
sgrunterundt wrote:Once there of course some industrious people will won't to expand - build more ships, to get more space and luxuries - colonize planets or asteroids - eventually send out more ships. Whether they build planetary civilizations or Dyson swarms doesn't matter much.

Yes I agree with you here, and that was kind of what I was getting at. The goals we set out for them have minimal chances of being realised, or even attempted. If you can imagine what goals the victorians might have planned for us, they'd be completely ignorant of the world we've developed, and the issues that we have to deal with.
Tue Nov 09, 2010 11:37 am
sgrunterundtUser avatarPosts: 254Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2009 8:23 amLocation: Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen Gender: Tree

Post Re: 100-Year Starship

ExeFBM wrote:That's assuming they don't develop their own renewable/more efficient power sources. Several generations of technological development in a environment largely focused on space travel should result in some significant improvements.


I count it a safe assumption that they don't find a way to break the first or the second law.
Tue Nov 09, 2010 2:54 pm
ExeFBMUser avatarPosts: 169Joined: Sat Feb 21, 2009 10:39 pm

Post Re: 100-Year Starship

sgrunterundt wrote:I count it a safe assumption that they don't find a way to break the first or the second law.

No objections to that here. By renewable, or more efficient I was thinking about something along the lines of a Bussard ramjet (http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bussard_ramjet) or similar.
Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:09 pm
YfelsungUser avatarPosts: 514Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2010 1:26 amLocation: Canada Gender: Male

Post Re: 100-Year Starship

I remember reading a long time ago that if we built 2 such ships, even with just today's technological know-how, and made it their mission to build two more once they colonized a planet we could actually colonize the entire galaxy in a "relatively" short time period, something like under a million years. Despite this being a long time, when you think about the size of the galaxy, it's sort of impressive to think we could pull this off with current technology.
Nihilism: turning "fuck it" into a philosophy since 1818.
Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:19 pm
sgrunterundtUser avatarPosts: 254Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2009 8:23 amLocation: Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen Gender: Tree

Post Re: 100-Year Starship

Yfelsung wrote:I remember reading a long time ago that if we built 2 such ships, even with just today's technological know-how, and made it their mission to build two more once they colonized a planet we could actually colonize the entire galaxy in a "relatively" short time period, something like under a million years. Despite this being a long time, when you think about the size of the galaxy, it's sort of impressive to think we could pull this off with current technology.


Not a million years. That would require 10% lightspeed, since the galaxy is 100000ly across, but not very much more. Exponential growth is fast.
Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:28 pm
StadredPosts: 15Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2010 10:26 pm

Post Re: 100-Year Starship

Yfelsung wrote:I remember reading a long time ago that if we built 2 such ships, even with just today's technological know-how, and made it their mission to build two more once they colonized a planet we could actually colonize the entire galaxy in a "relatively" short time period, something like under a million years. Despite this being a long time, when you think about the size of the galaxy, it's sort of impressive to think we could pull this off with current technology.


Actually, I wonder about what would happen if this were actually implemented, and close to completion. With the doubling that would be going on, the last 'step' would essentially be one half of the galaxy colonizing the other half. But what happens if the colonists of THAT generation don't know that they're supposed to be finished. They each build 2 more ships...
We then have as many ships in 'play' as there are currently colonized worlds, with no more left to colonize. What next?
Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:48 pm
Zoten001Posts: 67Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2009 1:58 pmLocation: San Diego, California

Post Re: 100-Year Starship

That method might work, assuming we don't run into someone else trying to do the same thing along the way.
Sat Nov 20, 2010 2:45 am
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sgrunterundtUser avatarPosts: 254Joined: Thu Dec 17, 2009 8:23 amLocation: Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen Gender: Tree

Post Re: 100-Year Starship

Stadred wrote:
Yfelsung wrote:I remember reading a long time ago that if we built 2 such ships, even with just today's technological know-how, and made it their mission to build two more once they colonized a planet we could actually colonize the entire galaxy in a "relatively" short time period, something like under a million years. Despite this being a long time, when you think about the size of the galaxy, it's sort of impressive to think we could pull this off with current technology.


Actually, I wonder about what would happen if this were actually implemented, and close to completion. With the doubling that would be going on, the last 'step' would essentially be one half of the galaxy colonizing the other half. But what happens if the colonists of THAT generation don't know that they're supposed to be finished. They each build 2 more ships...
We then have as many ships in 'play' as there are currently colonized worlds, with no more left to colonize. What next?


It wouldn't go like that. The last step would not be colonizing half the galaxy because of travel time. Exponential growth would stop long before that. People would tend to try to only send ships to systems that are not already colonized. Communication will still be much faster than travel. Of course mistakes will happen, if a settler ship arrives in a fully colonized system they may be guests or there may be war or anything in between.

On the grand scale it might not look too different from the colonization of america.
Sat Nov 20, 2010 12:07 pm
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