This is an excellent thread, thanks Amuk!
There have been some good problems pointed out, and some excellent solutions that went overlooked. I've been thinking about the idea for a while,
because I agree our time on earth is limited. It's a dangerous planet, and getting more dangerous by the day. We should do everything we can as a
species to insure the survival of our kind.
I think we need to send out a number of very large ships, in different directions. Say eight ships, with 100k people each. That's a small number of
people to lose from earth, but a great number of people to insure a breeding population.
The great thing about an environment like that, the children are immediately aware of the gravity of their situation, no pun intended. They have to
toe the line or everybody dies. That's immensely motivating.
Society would have to become more cohesive aboard the ships. There would be different societies operating completely beyond the influence of earth.
We'd be speeding up our evolution by a factor of 8! I like that a lot, and I think anyone who roots for their team should like it too.
Redundancy never hurt a species. If we can insure against the catastrophic demise of all the ships, we don't have to worry too much about the
Some problems people mentioned, water shortage, water storage, and gravity, I think answers exist for all these.
Water is easy to find in space, and easy to make too. Hyrdogen fuel cells put off two byproducts from their process, energy and H20. Drink the
water, feed it to the plants, bathe in it, whatever, there's plenty. The space shuttle always has way more water than they need, and they end up
dumping it on a regular schedule to get rid of the excess.
Refill the fuel cells with processed hydrogen from a giant 'scoop' on the front of your intergalactic hotrod and you're good to go. The fuel cells
would power the life support systems of the ship, with backup generators capable of running on combustibles/fission/steam to keep the lights on in an
emergency. Water and food are necessary for life, all plants need to surivive and provide us with food; light, water, and nutrients. (I'm a big fan
of bats and worms when it comes to sources of nutrients. We could maintain a bat cave on the ship for mushrooms and guano.)
The ship would have to be equipped with multiple propulsion methods, sails and various motors. The best tool for maneuvering might be to jettison
unneeded oxygen in controlled bursts. They could use sails and ion drives for long term flight.
Water storage isn't nearly such a problem as hydrogen storage, but I think the tech is up to the task. The tanks would best be placed along the
interior wall of a hollow globe or three quarter moon ship, to avoid penetration by micro-meteorites. Using a sort of 'chopped melon' design would
allow the ship to position itself towards the sun relative to its power needs and the danger to the crew. It could also be a 'wafer' ship, that
turns itself sideways to face the sun with the huge rectangular surface area of the top of the ship, for the plants.
The crew members require gravity to avoid losing their muscles, and eventually, perhaps, suffer heart attacks as a result of critical atrophy. What
they require is muscle stimulation, not necessarily gravity. This can be accomplished in a number of ways, with specialized electronic trainers.
Combine that with pedalling a bicycle and you're plenty excercised. I understand there is a problem with the organs of those prolonged to long term
exposure to weightlessness, but I believe we need more study and observation of the LONG term effects before we state that we can't do it. I would
rather die trying than stay on the earth in fear and get wiped away by a rock for my troubles. No thank you.
The main source of energy is threefold, sunlight, heat, battery power. Also, lets not overlook mechanical means of energy generation, such as
flywheels and hand cranks. The crew requires excercise, put them on a power generating stationary bike. If the ship is designed meticulously to meet
the energy needs of the long term, I see no problems.
It wouldn't even cost that much money or resources when you think about what's being bought. A practical guarantee of survival for our species.
That rocks at any price!
Am I mistaken in believing that there are immense resources floating around out there, ripe, and easy to pick as low hanging fruit? Diamonds the size
of planets, rare element meteors , golden planets, lush jungle planets, there is so much out there to be had. Meeting other inteligent life would be
the experience of a lifetime, but I'd be content just to surive, and insure the survival of my children.
There are offshore platforms going up as we speak that will be lawless, corporate countries. I think it's a fabulous idea, but I want people to
think more long-term. We can't survive forever on this rock. BTW, if anyone has an invite to a platform they're not goingt to use, toss it my way.
There needs to be a global symposium, a bunch of scientists from all disciplines get together in Vegas, get hammered, and bang out a feasibility study
for a planet ship. We could accomplish so much if we put our minds and our resources together, for the good of all mankind.
I think it's one of the few noble causes, but nobody would ever care enough to give their money to it. How many people gave hand over fist for the
tsunami, billions of dollars to buy flip flops and medical supplies, food for a few months and a tarp for people in 10 countries or so. That's a
good start, but think bigger! Let's help the species, all together for a common goal, for once without an enemy other than fate. Nah, that'll
never work, humans need an enemy. hmmm..let me think, oh, I know!
I just know the world is destined to improve the day I wave goodbye from the back window of an interstellar spacecraft. I'm cursed, and the longer I
stay on earth, the worse it gets. Is that enough motivation for everybody? I'll be the boogeyman, watch out for my voodoo!