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"Generation or Sleeper Ships: which would be the..." Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP13 Jan 2020 9:43 p.m. PST

… better & more realistic option for space travel?

Interesting question….

From here


ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Jan 2020 5:16 a.m. PST

Both ideas have been explored extensively vboth by scientists, engineers and space experts as well as in SF literature. Both have their advantages and problems.

Eclectic Wave14 Jan 2020 10:20 a.m. PST

And you can have a hybrid, a generational crew with a sleeper "cargo" for when you reach your destination.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP14 Jan 2020 12:31 p.m. PST



ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Jan 2020 5:18 a.m. PST

To elaborate on my first statement, I think that a 'sleeper' ship is probably the best way to go. With the crew and passengers in cold sleep, fewer resources are needed to keep them alive. The ship can be much smaller than a generation ship and could probably reach a higher speed and get to the destination more quickly. With the passengers asleep there is no worry about social disruption or them forgetting their mission. The disadvantage is that if there is a major problem with the ship, there's no one awake to deal with it (although presumably the control computer could wake people up if necessary). For this approach to work, however, you need a REALLY reliable suspended animation system that will function over the course of centuries or millennia (and how do you test it without spending centuries or millennia?)

The generation ship would need to be very large and self-sustaining to support a viable population. It would need a very efficient recycling system but still require a huge store of supplies and spare parts and each generation would need to be trained to do the required maintenance. Keeping the population focused on the mission generation after generation would not be an easy thing, and like the suspended animation problem noted above, there is no way you can really test it beforehand. The advantage of the sleeper ship is that upon reaching the destination, the colonists have a perfectly livable space station to work from while they prepare the new colony on the surface.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP15 Jan 2020 12:22 p.m. PST

Good points… you also can managed some of the crew not sleeping … for emergencies… and they can stay some time and then wake up other to replace them…


Ghostrunner15 Jan 2020 3:31 p.m. PST

Sleeper ships will be technically challenging.

Generation ships will be that and also sociologically challenging.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP16 Jan 2020 10:38 a.m. PST

"you also can managed some of the crew not sleeping … for emergencies… and they can stay some time and then wake up other to replace them…"

That's assuming you have a cold sleep technology that allows people to go in and out of it fairly easily. If it is a lot more complicated, or perhaps does incremental damage to the subject each time, then this might not be a viable option.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP16 Jan 2020 12:38 p.m. PST



ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP17 Jan 2020 5:24 a.m. PST

:) Yes, as I wrote in one of my own stories:

People weren't like leftovers, you couldn't keep defrosting them and popping them back into the freezer. The process did small but measurable damage to the body and the health regulations were very specific: one session in cryo and one only.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP17 Jan 2020 9:19 p.m. PST

So… you can go… but never return…


ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP18 Jan 2020 12:06 p.m. PST

Well, typically a generation or sleep[er ship would be heading out to set up a colony so there's no need to come back :)

Zephyr118 Jan 2020 3:50 p.m. PST

"And you can have a hybrid, a generational crew with a sleeper "cargo" for when you reach your destination."

If the gen crew devolves to cannibalism, they'll have a ready supply of frozen food to snack on… ;-)

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP18 Jan 2020 10:52 p.m. PST

Dude…! (smile)


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