[ExI] Alpha Centauri

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Thu Oct 18 10:44:37 UTC 2012

On Thu, Oct 18, 2012 at 6:33 AM, Jeff Davis wrote:
> First gen ships set out. Gonna be a bunch of people, and it's gonna be
> a long trip, so there'll be lots of supplies, and a very big ship.
> Perhaps hundreds of miles long and tens of miles wide.  Fully shielded
> and with sufficient energy stores and the necessarily proportionate
> supply of reaction mass.  For both acceleration and braking, of
> course..  Big.  Very big.
> If most everyone cycles into and out of suspension, and everything is
> destination focused, you reduce the need for supplies and the ship can
> be smaller.  But if the awake population is large and actively living
> their lives aboard ship, then you have a really large ship.

Large interstellar ships the size of cities which take many
generations to arrive at the nearest star are one often considered
option. The main problem I see is persuading that many people that
that is the way they want themselves and their descendents to live.
This option is usually suggested as a desperation measure in the face
of the imminent destruction of Earth. So it is not really a method of
choice. Most people would rather wait for the new Chinese high-speed
train instead.

> Now, to my point. Later generations of ships might not get there first.
> Contact with the home planet would be continuous, no?  Advances in
> ship design originating on the home planet would be communicated to
> the ship, no?, and the ship upgraded, no?  Also, aboard ship there
> would be particular interest in such performance upgrades, and so
> research along those lines would be a priority.  Consequently, the
> shipboard culture would quite possibly be in the vanguard of starship
> technology.

You need a really huge ship that contains science labs and
manufacturing facilities (and raw materials). And scientists to
understand the tech sent from Earth and universities to train future
The ship is going interstellar, so there will be years of delay in

> I mention this because the old notion about the futility of setting
> out at all, because someone will inevitably be there to greet you when
> you arrive,...has always been bothersome to me.  the self-fulfilling
> self-defeating character of it.

Unfortunately the universe doesn't care about our feelings.


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