Tag Archives: interstellar

Multi-generational interstellar travel; ethics.

Following on from the 2005 objections debate here about multi-generational interstellar travel I want to put the ethical issue of ‘condemning’ future generations to a limited life on board the ship.

Basically the arguments against focus on the future generations not wanting to pursue their forefathers ambitions and having a limited life (not being able to have a wide selection of human social relations, being cut-off from Earth society (at least in a physical way)).

According to British anthropologist Robin Dunbar the amount of people we know and keep in contact with lies between 100 and 250, meaning there is a good chance on a ship with a starting crew of say 2000 people which of course will expand through the generations it is unlikely that a situation will arise where everyone knows everyone.

As for the idea that these future generations will be cut-off from the developments back on Earth this is potentially true should there be a communications malfunction otherwise audio and visual communication and learning will continue to be possible as well as uploads and downloads.

Comparisons have been made to past explorers setting out to find new land on Earth and colonising islands, effectively stranding their future generations to the island till the time came about that allowed travel much easier and faster.

In short I see absolutely no issue with setting out on a multi-generational adventure providing that the crew consisted of at least 2000 people.


Multi-generational interstellar travel; size & design.

7,350m2 garden
3000 accommodation rooms 10m2 each 24,180m2
50m2 Medical bay
16739m2 Corridors/lifts/storage space
1148m2 Engineering & maintenance
1014m2 Science rooms
517m2 Health facilities
50m2 Command
230m2 Recreational & dining
100m2 Educational
100m2 Manufacturing
200m2 Misc


1 square = 3.19m2

Accommodation  (gray and white)
Command (red)
Sick bay (dark blue)
Manufacturing (dark gold)
Educational (purple)
Health facilities (yellow)
Engineering (gold)
Misc (dark gray)
Science (blue)
Recreational & dining (pink)
Garden (green)

Multi-generational interstellar travel; features & facilities.

When you enter a starship designed to be lived on for generations without stopping or resupplying what would you expect to find?

Features & facilities
Garden – Producing natural oxygen and food, chicken coop.
Recreational – Bar/disco.
Accommodation – Combination of family rooms and dormitories.
Health – Sport and exercise rooms (gym, football).
Educational – School and learning rooms.
Medical – Sick bay inc birthing facilities, surgery.
Science – Various labs for each scientific field, psychiatry/psychology rooms.
Engineering – Engine room, research lab, storage facility.
Manufacturing – Manufacturing rooms inc clothes, new tech, repairs/spare parts.
Command – Command room and centralised ship controls.
Misc – Detention room, meeting rooms, creative/art space.

Did I miss something?

Multi-generational interstellar travel; crew.

How many?
Previous estimates have suggested anywhere between 150 and 3 million.

Bearing in mind the psychological effects and the breeding requirement to keep such a ship going till it reaches its destination and fulfills its mission objectives.

With this is mind I would suggest a crew of 2000. This would allow (with additional sperm and embryo storage) a big enough pool to stop inbreeding and genetic flaws as well as alleviate any negative psychological effects as a result of everyone knowing everyone.

In order to aid a healthy gene pool the crew should be a mix of people from every continent on Earth. This will also act as a true representation of Earth and hopefully act as a tool to unite humanity. There should be a 50/50 male/female ratio and everyone should be of suitable reproduction age.

Departments & skills
Science – Computer, social, physics, biology, chemistry, geologists etc
Medical – A variety of different field specialist doctors.
Engineering – A variety of different field engineers.
Command/Tactical – In-case of communication issues with Earth an independent on-board command.
Civilian – Recreation, social and general non-essential crew.

Selection process
Relevant expertise

That’s just my first thoughts, what else? Care to expand?

Multi-generational interstellar travel; mission objectives.

Mission objectives:
These are just off the top of my head and would very much be interested to hear what other peoples opinions/suggestions are.

Primary objectives
Locate and investigate the nearest habitable planet.
Continue exploration and documentation of the universe.
Carry out scientific research in all fields.
Aid scientific research being carried out from Earth
Locate and exploit mineral rich bodies.

Secondary objectives
Establish a permanent base on the habitable planet.
Document the planet.
Maintain a permanent communication system with Earth.

Multi-generational interstellar travel; what to consider.

I’ve been thinking a lot about multi-generational interstellar travel lately, is it just me or has there been a lot of developments on the space front recently? Finding new planets and planets that may be habitable or easily terraformable (ETP), this has probably led me to think about the subject.

For now a want to leave aside the cost of such a project.

Firstly, what are the main issues to consider?

-Inc (but not limited to) Propulsion, Artificial gravity system, Water purification, Computerised systems

Ship size
-Inc (but not limited to) Size, Design

-Inc (but not limited to) Quantity, Hierarchy, Skills, Selection process

Mission objectives
-Inc (but not limited to) Scientific research, Exploration, Colonisation

Facilities and features
-Inc (but not limited to) Garden, Recreation, Accommodation, Medical, Laboratories, Health, Educational

On-board manufacturing/production
-Inc (but not limited to) Clothes, food, Repairs

Ship economics
-Inc (but not limited to) Employment, Money/Credits

-Inc (but not limited to) Fate of future generations, Risk

Each section is worthy of a full entry which will come later but first I want to make sure that I haven’t missed any obvious topics/issues.