Interstellar Ark

  1. Technocrat
    Technocrat
    I thought this article was pretty awesome: http://strangepaths.com/interstellar-ark/2007/02/14/en/

    An interstellar ark is essentially a massive, self-sufficient ship containing tens of thousands of people, designed for slower-than-light interstellar travel for the purpose of colonizing an extrasolar planet.

    I particularly liked this quote since it basically describes a technocratic system of administration for the proposed society of the ark:

    "Comparing to Earth, Ark should carry a maximized human diversity. However, it is undoubtedly necessary to imagine that the settlement is done primarily by natural growth. The initial settlement, carrying out the way Ground-Ark could include as few as 2,000 families or 5,000 people, adults and their offsprings, knowledgeable in fields useful to construction and maintenance of the structure and the engines. And for the successor, a meritocratic ascent formed of volunteers selected for their social utility within the framework of the project. The time of acclimatization and demographic balancing, including the possibility of a return to Earth, will undoubtedly be higher than a century." (http://strangepaths.com/interstellar-ark/2007/02/14/en/)
  2. Ocean Seal
    Ocean Seal
    The idea of an interstellar ark is very interesting, the thing that worries me though is that the whole aging paradox complex isn't based on velocity it is based on changes in accelerations. So in order for a biological effect to be felt the shuttle would need to slow down at some point ideally when reaching another planet; however, if the shuttle did not reach another planet then the proper time biological effect would not be felt. Additionally communication would be very poor as radio signals travel at the speed of light and if the ship is moving away at a significant portion of the speed of light communication would be greatly stunted although this isn't really much of an argument as nearly all explorers did not fear not communicating with their home nation.

    Anyway very interesting and just some food for thought.
  3. Technocrat
    Technocrat
    Quote Originally Posted by RedBrother
    The idea of an interstellar ark is very interesting, the thing that worries me though is that the whole aging paradox complex isn't based on velocity it is based on changes in accelerations. So in order for a biological effect to be felt the shuttle would need to slow down at some point ideally when reaching another planet; however, if the shuttle did not reach another planet then the proper time biological effect would not be felt. Additionally communication would be very poor as radio signals travel at the speed of light and if the ship is moving away at a significant portion of the speed of light communication would be greatly stunted although this isn't really much of an argument as nearly all explorers did not fear not communicating with their home nation.

    Anyway very interesting and just some food for thought.
    I'm confused as to what 'biological effect' you're talking about. The ark would be a multi-generational journey. People would live, raise families, and die on the ark until they reached their destination.

    As far as the communication thing is concerned - the ark would have to be autonomous as a result - a city-state in space.
  4. Ẋʼn
    Ẋʼn
    I wonder if ~5000 people is enough to ensure sufficient genetic diversity over the journey planned.

    even if it is, I think there should be some kind of buffer available in case the journey takes longer than expected. Perhaps a store of frozen or otherwise preserved eggs and sperms donated by the folks back home before they set off would help to offset any gene pool deficiencies and prevent inbreeding.
  5. Ocean Seal
    Ocean Seal
    The biological effect that is felt with large changes in velocity is that we actually age less quickly. The article speaks about a lot of Special Relativity so it states that by moving at a massive speed we would change our proper time; however, in order for this to mean anything biologically (ie: slower aging) there would need to be a change in velocity.
  6. Technocrat
    Technocrat
    Quote Originally Posted by NoXion
    I wonder if ~5000 people is enough to ensure sufficient genetic diversity over the journey planned.

    even if it is, I think there should be some kind of buffer available in case the journey takes longer than expected. Perhaps a store of frozen or otherwise preserved eggs and sperms donated by the folks back home before they set off would help to offset any gene pool deficiencies and prevent inbreeding.
    The proposed population was 50,000 - 100,000. The ~5,000 people are just the ones responsible for running the essential tasks of the ship.
  7. Ẋʼn
    Ẋʼn
    Quote Originally Posted by RedBrother
    The biological effect that is felt with large changes in velocity is that we actually age less quickly. The article speaks about a lot of Special Relativity so it states that by moving at a massive speed we would change our proper time; however, in order for this to mean anything biologically (ie: slower aging) there would need to be a change in velocity.
    A massive change in velocity, if one wants to get any meaningful difference due to relativistic effects.

    However, if you can build a ship capable of such acceleration, why are you bothering with an ark?

    Quote Originally Posted by Technocrat
    The proposed population was 50,000 - 100,000. The ~5,000 people are just the ones responsible for running the essential tasks of the ship.
    Oops.
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