Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Ultimate Project: 10000 Year Journey

When you're thinking interstellar, long time frames are inescapable. Are we capable as a culture of planning missions that last not only longer than a single human lifetime, but longer than multiple generations? Steve Kilston (Ball Aerospace & Technologies), with help from Sven and Nancy Grenander, clearly thinks so. The three are behind the fittingly named Ultimate Project, a starship designed to carry one million humans across the light years separating us from the nearest stars, creating colonies and perhaps going on from there, a ten thousand year star journey that could turn into a trek through the galaxy lasting for millions more.


Think big!

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

... speeding interstellar tour ships are zipping around the universe, slowing occasionally to take in the sights.

One point of interest is a large hulking spaceship from earth with a million people on board that left the planet 5,000 years ago. The big ship continues its lumbering journey on its way to planets that have been settled and populated now for 3,000 years by the descendants of those left on earth when the ship first departed. Having cut radio contact with earth over 3,000 years ago as a result of a philosophical dispute, those on board have no idea what has happened in the years since they left.

The tour guide notes that in only 5,000 years the old ship will finally reach the end of its journey. He briefly explains the archaic nature of the technology on board the big ship and the curious behavior patterns the society on board is believed to have maintained throughout their odyssey.

Their curiosity satisfied, the tour resumes....

Michael

dad2059 said...

New take on an old theme, but one has to start somewhere to get the ball rolling.

Sometimes the old ways are the best!

Anonymous said...

Didn't Larry Niven write a novel about a generation ark being beaten to its destination by a later model hyperdrive starship? (Come to think, isn't "Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan" also kind of based on this idea?)

wintermuse x9 said...

Can you imagine the impact of being born on a vast, metallic, generational spacecraft and becoming aware of the fact that you will be expected to do your duties to maintain the artificial ecosphere, but will never get off the craft or live on the destination planet, and that you will live and die within this construct, having no choice?

I have a sneaking suspicion that intergenerational spacecraft occupants, when and if they disgorge their human or posthuman content upon the "new world," will be unable to cope and be at least partially insane as a result of the 1000 year plus journey.

What a delicious prospect, eh?

Mac said...

Can you imagine the impact of being born on a vast, metallic, generational spacecraft and becoming aware of the fact that you will be expected to do your duties to maintain the artificial ecosphere, but will never get off the craft or live on the destination planet, and that you will live and die within this construct, having no choice?

Simple solution to the problem: you never tell anyone they're on a spaceship. Better yet, sow the seeds of some defeatist religion to keep 'em contented.

Sounds like Earth, huh?

kurogogyou said...

Can you imagine the impact of being born on a vast, carbon-silicate, wet rock and becoming aware of the fact that you will be expected to do your duties to maintain the order of society, but will never get off the rock or live anywhere else, and that you will live and die within this planet, having no choice?

You don't need to, because probably that's exactly the situation we are all in. I believe it's not much different than living on a spaceship if it is big enough and well constructed/equipped with good life support.

Anonymous said...

One fix for the isolation and close confines is to, as others have suggested elsewhere, send more than one big ship. A small fleet, if you will, where one could move from one world ship to another, and where there would be some variety in more than just society. Redundancy would be a major benefit of this approach. More than just a space ark filled with hicks, these could be moving way stations for other ships and robotic explorers.