Are Clone Ships a Better Alternative for Space Colonization?

In summary, the conversation discussed the idea of using generation ships as a means of colonizing another planet, but ultimately concluded that it was not the most reasonable option due to various fatal problems. The alternative proposed was using Clone Ships, which would send genetic samples of all necessary life forms to the new world and then recreate them once the planet was ready. This method would require less space, fuel, and resources, and could also serve as a von Neumann probe. The conversation also touched on the idea of sending multiple ships with different designs and strategies to increase the chances of success, with the possibility of using government subsidies to maintain funding for these missions.
  • #1
Algr
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We've just had an interesting thread about generation ships, but I don't think that that is the most reasonable way to colonize another planet.
Fatal problems:

- Crew may become chaotic and self destructive.
- Crew may become so adapted to space as to be unwilling to return to a planet.
- Making the planet habitable may take longer then the trip, so the ship needs to last far longer than just the journey.
- Mid-flight malfunction may render the ship unable to decelerate at the destination, resulting in generations of doomed inhabitants.
- Animals and plants must be included as well as humans. If enough of them die off, the mission may fail. Filtering out unwanted parasites and viruses will be a problem.

So an alternative is Clone Ships.

In this ship, you send genetic samples of every life form you will need on the new world. Assuming AI bots can't reasonably be relied upon to raise children, the concept instead presupposes that it is possible to scan and record someone's brain with sufficient accuracy that a clone could be generated that would "remember" the original person's skills, memories, culture, and personality. People would be highly trained for the journey, but once the brain recording was done, they would live the rest of their lives back on Earth, knowing that thousands of years later, a new person much like them would emerge on the new world.

During the flight, everything is frozen and inactive, hence there is no need for artificial gravity or food production. The genetic samples will take up far less room then a whole Noah's Ark, so the area that must be protected from radiation is much smaller. This means less fuel is needed, resulting in a smaller, faster, more practical ship. The automation will need to repair or rebuild itself during the journey, but this will take place on far slower timescales then what a ship with live humans and animals would need.

Multiple ships with contrasting designs and strategies should be sent. That way if one has fatal problems, one of the others might be able to rescue or salvage it. The destination system should have multiple worlds that appear terraformable. Since we have never tried this before, multiple tries increases the odds that at least one is made habitable.

Humans would not be recreated until a planet, including buildings and infrastructure, was ready for them. If a problem occurred in mid flight or during terraforming, that the automation could not deal with, one or two humans might be recreated to solve it. So there would be a small quarters for them to live, with supplies for a few years. This is a harsh possibility, so training for this role would be required - no surprising anyone with this fate.

My story starts with the first generation that wakes up on the newly terriformed world, so all this would be background info. Of course I am planning for certain things to go wrong, and part of the story in the characters figuring out what happened.
 
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  • #2
Yeah. I think the gen ship can't work, and it's been done plenty besides.
 
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  • #3
When seen from the standpoint of the needed technology itself and the capabilities it provides, once you have a design for a ship with sufficiently advanced automated fabrication to "figure out" and build infrastructure for the "human population seeding" part to succeed then extending that technology and design into allowing it to act as a von Neumann probe as well seems like a significant and also inevitable next design step. From a standpoint of storytelling such an extension also appears to allows for potential epic world-building on a galactic scale with very little extra effort.

So, for me at least, I would find it a bit strange if a story had multiple "single-shot" missions of varying ship designs all going to the same solar system to "compete" on the same purpose of seeding just one population. For a specific story one can of course find a good excuse for why such a setup is needed, but if the issue is ignored completely I would probably find the issue odd or perhaps even jarring, depending on how close the portrayed technology is to full replication capability.
 
  • #4
The clone ship has the huge advantages that it has minimal mass and can be made solid. Then it can endure very high accelerations and needs much less energy to move. Fire it from a rail gun in outer space. The big problem is stopping it at the destination. It could explosively separate into two parts to get rid of one part's momentum. Or more than two parts.
 
  • #5
Filip Larsen said:
So, for me at least, I would find it a bit strange if a story had multiple "single-shot" missions of varying ship designs all going to the same solar system to "compete" on the same purpose of seeding just one population. For a specific story one can of course find a good excuse for why such a setup is needed, but if the issue is ignored completely I would probably find the issue odd or perhaps even jarring, depending on how close the portrayed technology is to full replication capability.

They can't be sure the first trip will succeed, they want to maintain their funding, and the govt wants to subsidize technical advances.
 
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  • #6
Hornbein said:
They can't be sure the first trip will succeed, and they want to maintain their funding.
That doesn't sounds like a particularly convincing excuse to me, but I am also not trying to argue for having one particular "excuse" over another, but only trying to point out that once you have fully automated resource gathering and fabrication (as part of the background for a story) it appears strange if the designers of such a system did not also take the small extra step towards replication, and indeed justify this "design decision" with a reference to the significantly increased chance of success for life being seeded in at least one other solar system.

A replicating mission seems to allows for relatively quick maturing of the technology in our solar system where we can weed out any initial systematic/design-time failure modes in the fabrication/replication technology simply by evolving and keeping the initial prototype replicator ship(s) in our solar system to fabricate the actual ships that go interstellar, thus increasing the chance at least this part will work. Granted, that does not rule out systematic failures during transit or arrival (e.g. failures in the seeding part), or it may tune the fabrication/replication process to quirks present for the resources in our solar system that we missed are not present in the target system, but overall since its hard to imagine autonomous fully automated fabrication/replication being successful without involving at least some level of adaptation, learning and communication it seems a far more likely road to success than hand building just one or two ships and hope they will survive transit and fabricate correctly on arrival perhaps hundreds of years later.

But again, let me stress I'm not as such out to detract from any specific existing or would-be story, but more out to say that given the goal of ensuring humans in our galaxy then from an engineering perspective it seems there is some "natural" convergence, or optima if you like, towards using a certain set of technologies.
 
  • #7
I should have included an issue from the other thread: Sub-light speed journeys to other solar systems are only likely to happen if there is reason to think that Earth's solar system is doomed. If Earth still exists centuries after your ship launches, they might develop the technology to send a much faster ship, and arrive at your destination before you do. I'll be using either a nearby gamma ray burst, or a Hari Seldon style prediction of social collapse.

Hence funding isn't an issue - it's about survival of humanity. Neither are the various ships in competition with each other - if any of them succeed, humanity is saved, and the people stored on every ship that survives the trip can be regenerated. Since we can't know what plan is most likely to succeed, having multiple plans and trying as many as possible is the only strategy. You can't learn from mistakes that will happen a thousand years in the future.

Also, these are not Von Neumann probes. The ships don't build other ships or attempt to leave the new system - the newly revived humans will be able to study what worked and what didn't and thus build much better colony ships. Of course it will be thousands of years before they need them.

Assumptions:
-Automated industry does not need true machine intelligence. The kind of machines we will likely have in 10-20 years will be enough. I'm assuming that true machine intelligence is NOT invented at launch, because if it does exist, it might render humans irrelevant.
-The automation can make all sorts of mistakes, and then just keep trying until something works.
-They will regenerate just a few dozen people at first, who can then make more intelegent decisions as to how to build the new planet. A clone ship might be able to store the minds and DNA of millions of people, and needent reconstruct them exactly as they were on Earth. Now THAT is how you get funding!
- That Algol video suggests to me that terraforming a planet would take thousands of years at the minimum. So if more then one ship makes it to the new system, they would each pick a planet and see what works. Humans would not be regenerated until at least one planet has a breathable atmosphere.
 
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  • #8
Do the the machines build the world the way the few dozen people say they want it, or do they build the world the way the people REALLY want it?
 
  • #9
I am unsure exactly what type of discussion's the OP is aiming for in this thread. The title suggests comparison between generation and clone ship, but in what regard? And here the clone ships sits somewhere as a mix between a sleeper ship in regards to allow transit of "existing persons" and a seed ship in regards to growing the actual human body.

Story wise the two "ship types" probably relate to different phases, e.g. interesting stories for generation ships likely take place in transit or near arrival, while interesting stories for clone ships more or less are forced to take place after humans are "awoken". And if a story takes place after arrival it is perhaps of less importance (for the credibility of story at least) how it actually got there in one piece?

If I was looking for my next story to read and was presented with what @Algr already has said as teasers on the back cover, then I would probably be skeptical about storing minds and inserting them into a cloned human brain and would need some convincing hand-waving as to how this is possible. Assuming it is possible, it does however more convincingly seem to allow for a story that is based on careful crew selection and mission planning to achieve success.
 
  • #10
Algr said:
generation ships, but I don't think that that is the most reasonable way to colonize another planet.

...

So an alternative is Clone Ships.
While I think clone ships would make a fresh and interesting premise for a book in its own right, I do not see it as what you call an alternative. They're simply not comparable.

The simple reason is that clone ships are premised several technologies that are straight up sci fi, and (depending on who you ask) at least a century beyond gen ship technology, to-wit:

  1. Digital minds
    • viability of
    • downloading of
    • uploading of
  2. Clones that are physically adults (18 years+?) but cerebrally blank slates
  3. AI so powerful as to require zero human intervention to oversee every single detail required for
    a space journey of centuries
    • orbital insertion in an alien system (only known from light years distance and centuries out-of-date)
    • analysis of landing sites and planetfall
    • the establishment of mining, processing, manufacturing and running of a habitat
    • all the problem-solving for the above industries that could not be anticipated before arrival
    • the cloning of human bodies
    • the uploading of minds into said bodies
Have I missed anything major?

It's kind of like saying dugout canoes were OK for18th century islanders traveling between ocean destinations, but there are so many cons it's impractical. An alternative would be commercial airliners. :wink:
 
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  • #11
Hornbein said:
Do the the machines build the world the way the few dozen people say they want it, or do they build the world the way the people REALLY want it?
Both of those have major problems. (Think of the Krell from Forbidden Planet.). I think the former is more-or-less unavoidable. The best you can do is have the people agree that they have chosen the most qualified few dozen people.
Filip Larsen said:
If I was looking for my next story to read and was presented with what @Algr already has said as teasers on the back cover, then I would probably be skeptical about storing minds and inserting them into a cloned human brain and would need some convincing hand-waving as to how this is possible. While I think clone ships would make a fresh and interesting premise for a book in its own right, I do not see it as what you call an alternative. They're simply not comparable.
I wouldn't go on to detail about that on the back cover. They wake up to a strange new world that is not what they were expecting.
DaveC426913 said:
The simple reason is that clone ships are premised several technologies that are straight up sci fi, and (depending on who you ask) at least a century beyond gen ship technology, to-wit:
People happily accept faster than light travel, Star Trek transporters, and an alien that has never heard of Earth, but makes english literary references. The brain-taping is far more reasonable than any of those. I also think it is more reasonable then making an active biosphere capable of supporting thousands of humans for hundreds of years - on your first try. We have right now probes that can land on Titan purely by AI control. Biosphere 2 did not work as well.

I'm getting called away, so I'll discuss some other things you three said later. Thank you, though this is useful to me. :)
 
  • #12
Algr said:
People happily accept faster than light travel, Star Trek transporters, and an alien that has never heard of Earth, but makes english literary references.
Sure. And your premises are super-cool too.

But they're not an alternative to gen ships. Which is how you framed it:

..don't think that [a gen ship] is the most reasonable way to colonize another planet.
... an alternative is Clone Ships.

As I said: it's like saying about an 18th century adventure: "a dugout canoe is not the most reasonable way to cross the oceans; a better alternative is commercial aircraft". (Well, not in the 18th century it's not!)

Or like saying about a 22nd century adventure: "a clone ship is not the most reasonable way to cross the light years; a better alternative is direct mental teleportation*".
(* which is to say: direct mental teleportation is still just sci fantasy as of the 22nd century).

See?

Your premise is set in a technological era that is still far in the future of gen ship technology.
 
  • #13
Another way of phrasing it:

A gen ship story requires no truly new technologies (except maybe fusion drive) that need explaining and justifying (albeit do require a substantial engineering extension of existing technologies or at least ones on well-funded drawing boards). That makes it hard-sci-fi.

A clone ship story is premised on several technologies that, each individually , are - a la Star Trek - 95% handwaving. A different sub-genre. And a different century. A very different story.

I'm not criticizing the premise; I'm simply saying they're apples and oranges.
 
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  • #14
DaveC426913 said:
A gen ship story requires no truly new technologies (except maybe fusion drive) that need explaining and justifying
I'm going to have to disagree with you there. Biosphere 2 attempted a simplified version of what a generation ship would need to do, and failed spectacularly. The only thing we learned is that we know nothing.

Just as important as the biological aspect is that of social psychology. We are bad enough at this that even Biosphere 1 (the real Earth) is threatened by wars and pollution. The dramatically more fragile environment of a generation ship could be destroyed by one nutcase is the right place.

You mentioned Nuclear Fusion. That is a classic example of people having no idea what future technologies are close, and what are far away. The internet is another example. The number of payphones in "hard-sci-fi" is notorious.

As far as we know, fusion never occurs on earth-sized objects anywhere in the universe. But cloning and brain-taping are both ideas for producing things that are widely available for study in exactly the form we want to reproduce. Useful clones (of plants and animals) exist now. Fusion, by comparison is pure research.

We are learning to put implants into people's brains to allow for them to receive and transmit information. Ultimately, brain taping is just duplicating information. It would not surprise me if the first successful information brain-transfer occurs before the first practical fusion reactor.

Edit: I'll get to your other objections in a few hours.

In short, we can't be certain that we know what technologies are close, and what is far in the future. I think my forecast is as reasonable as yours.
 
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  • #15
DaveC426913 said:
  1. Digital minds
    • viability of
    • downloading of
    • uploading of
  2. Clones that are physically adults (18 years+?) but cerebrally blank slates
  3. AI so powerful as to require zero human intervention to oversee every single detail required for
    a space journey of centuries
    • orbital insertion in an alien system (only known from light years distance and centuries out-of-date)
    • analysis of landing sites and planetfall
    • the establishment of mining, processing, manufacturing and running of a habitat
    • all the problem-solving for the above industries that could not be anticipated before arrival
    • the cloning of human bodies
    • the uploading of minds into said bodies
Digital Minds:
We don't really know how brains work yet. But we know for certain that they DO work. We DON'T know that a biosphere capable of supporting lots of humans for centuries can be dramatically smaller than a planet. Hence duplicating an existing mind seems to me to be more probable than creating such a biosphere.
Clones that are physically adults (18 years+?)
It will likely take thousands of years to terraform a planet. If it takes 18 years to grow an 18 year old clone, that is no problem. The mind would never be blank. The imprinting of skills and memories would begin before "birth", and could proceed at a rate similar to a normally developing person.
AI so powerful:
Remember that the ships are completely inert for most of the journey. They only need to wake up for perhaps a few hours a year for periodic inspection and repair. Much like current space probes.
- Orbital insertion in an alien system: Computers from the 1970s could handle such calculations. You just need a telescope to see where the inner planets are. First course corrections would happen when the clone ship was about half a light-year from the destination.
- Analysis of landing sites and planetfall: The Huygens lander had to do this to a limited extent. Better automation of this is inevitable.
- Mining, processing, manufacturing and running of a habitat: Automating these things is a high priority on Earth for reasons unrelated to space flight. Progress has been dramatic in the last hundred years, and will likely be even more so in the next hundred.
- The cloning of human bodies: In 2018, the first successful cloning of primates using SCNT was reported with the birth of two live female clones.
- The uploading of minds into said bodies: You said this already. Real life memory implants.

The technologies I have linked to are obviously not ready yet. But micro-biospheres and social psychology are equally crude. These things are essential for a generation ship, less so for a clone ship.

Nuclear Fusion might not be the best choice for a clone ship, if it is inherently too large or complex. Power based on passive fission decay or even chemical propellant might be more reliable. Speed is more attainable, but also less important on a clone ship compared to a generation ship.

And one more detail. The clone ships will be within radio range of Earth for decades after launch, so research can continue on Earth and the automation can be updated with the results right up until armageddon hits. If a major problem is discovered, they might even send a chaser chip with new and better hardware. If it is launched 40 years later, it would arrive when the terraforming had barely started.

Both generation ships and clone ships are well beyond current technologies, but neither is in the realm of star-trek fantasy. Technological progress is very difficult to forecast. But AI is improving rapidly, and human behavior, well, isn't. I'm still interested in what other problems you foresee, but if you have more confidence in practical fusion then brain taping, you'll need more then "We can't do it yet."

:)
 
  • #16
Algr said:
The dramatically more fragile environment of a generation ship could be destroyed by one nutcase is the right place.
I agree with that to the point of saying that on a generation ship, maintaining a stable social structure all the way to successfully establishing a self-sustained planet-side human population on an exoplanet seems to be one, if not the the most, likely part of the mission to fail, at least if we extrapolate from human history on Earth so to speak. However this does not exclude the possibility that a stable social structure can be brought or refined into existence with a promise of a significantly lowers the risk of such a failure. For example, I would guess that a military-like cultures with high level of discipline and dedication to purpose for the sake "a common good" and a historically high acceptance rate for humans, would be a prime candidate for refinement into be the predominant stabilizing culture in generation ships.

That said, I'm still with Dave in saying that replacing the risk of "social collapse" in an otherwise simple generation ship with some magic technology is fairly unbelievable for a hard sci-fi setting and somewhat out of balance. If you already assume one magic technology to solve "a problem" why not also postulate other technologies that solves the problems that has little to do with the story you want to tell to maintain the readers suspension of disbelief? For me to read stories where something is explained in high (realistic) detail while other parts are just glossed over with magic tech engages my critical thinking thus making the whole thing feel vastly more unrealistic even if the detailed parts otherwise are interesting and physically correct. I'd personally much rather have a set of (magic or semi-magic) technologies just portrayed to work well together without too much detail, thus allowing me to focus on the actual story. Another way to put is, if you can't or won't go for hard sci-fi with its "no magic tech", then try go for at least a believable balance of magic tech that supports your story.

By the way, I am still not sure if you in this thread want to discuss how technology or engineering in a clone ship compares to a generation ship for the purpose of bringing the ship to its destination (i.e. disregarding the tech employed exclusively after arrival), or if you are more looking for input or critique for your specific story.
 
  • #17
“Magic Technology?” Didn’t you read anything I wrote?

Meanwhile your entire response to the problem of social upheaval is “military discipline”? Now THAT is magical thinking. Take a good look at what happens in societies that try to organize themselves that way. How long do they last? Sorry, but that is not helpful.
 
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  • #18
Algr said:
Digital Minds:
We don't really know how brains work yet. But we know for certain that they DO work. We DON'T know that a biosphere capable of supporting lots of humans for centuries can be dramatically smaller than a planet. Hence duplicating an existing mind seems to me to be more probable than creating such a biosphere.
Except that biospheres use known technology, and artificial brains are sci-fantasy.

Which, again is fine for a far future story, if readers are happy with 95% hand-waving.

Algr said:
It will likely take thousands of years to terraform a planet.
Not sure anyone suggested the target planet needs to be terraformed.

Algr said:
If it takes 18 years to grow an 18 year old clone, that is no problem. The mind would never be blank. The imprinting of skills and memories would begin before "birth", and could proceed at a rate similar to a normally developing person.
Or so the story wildly speculates, without a shred of science.

Algr said:
- Orbital insertion in an alien system: Computers from the 1970s could handle such calculations.
No they couldn't.
It took hundreds of programmers and technicians in real time to get that to happen. The calculations were a tiny piece of that. Note that calculations didn't steer those spaceships. People steered those spaceships.

Algr said:
You just need a telescope to see where the inner planets are.
And a phalanx of scientists to process and interpret that raw data in real time.

Algr said:
The technologies I have linked to are obviously not ready yet.
They don't exist yet.

Algr said:
But micro-biospheres and social psychology are equally crude.
Crude or no, they exist, and they don't require unknown science.

Algr said:
Both generation ships and clone ships are well beyond current technologies, but neither is in the realm of star-trek fantasy.
Gen ships are not Trek tech; they are a scaling-up of known tech.
Clone ships, as you describe them, require tech that is currently Trekkian in its handwaving.

Algr said:
Technological progress is very difficult to forecast. But AI is improving rapidly, and human behavior, well, isn't. I'm still interested in what other problems you foresee, but if you have more confidence in practical fusion then brain taping, you'll need more then "We can't do it yet."
Recall this is about a book.

A story about a gen ship will concentrate on physics and technology the readers already know.

A story about a clone ship will have to lead the reader through the physics and technology the readers do not know because it doesn't exist except in the author's mind. The author will have to handwave a large fraction of it. It'll be a fine story, but it'll have a much larger fraction of exposition on rationalizing the technology required to plausibly support it.
And still: you are a 17th century author, comparing 18th century canoes with 20th century heavier-than-air jet aircraft. Your 17th century sci fi about HTA aircraft will be cool, but you'll have to handwave a lot of it because it doesn't exist.
My (humble) suggestion is that you drop the comparison to other technologies of previous centuries - it's a diversion from the primary topic - and simply steer this thread toward the world-building of a clone ship as a story in its own right. No?
 
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  • #19
Algr said:
“Magic Technology?” Didn’t you read anything I wrote?
I did. See post 10 for three examples of magic technology.

Algr said:
Meanwhile your entire response to the problem of social upheaval is “military discipline”? Now THAT is magical thinking.
No, that's a story, using known tools, albeit a story full of conflict and folly.
 
  • #20
Algr said:
Meanwhile your entire response to the problem of social upheaval is “military discipline”? Now THAT is magical thinking.
No, that's a story, using known tools, albeit a story full of conflict and folly.
 
  • #21
Having read the posts until now, the term 'clone' in the thread may be holding you back.

Premises:

Human minds can be stored and restored electronically.
Automated spacecraft can navigate to distant livable planets, albeit with some terraforming.
Earth species can be biologically stored and revived in vitro.
Human minds, not just AI, can live and flourish in machine bodies.

Why introduce human bodies into such a clean premise until/unless needed to 'preserve the species'?
Biological body parts are not required until 'girl meets boy' romance necessary to every novel. Use anthropomorphic 'robot' explorers carrying human minds assisted by other machines. I would like to experience that world.
 
  • #22
DaveC426913 said:
I did. See post 10 for three examples of magic technology.
See post 15 for my reply to each one.
 
  • #23
Algr said:
See post 15 for my reply to each one.
Sure. See post 18, where each reply in turn is refuted, leaving is back at square one. :wink:
 
  • #24
Klystron said:
Having read the posts until now, the term 'clone' in the thread may be holding you back.

Premises:

Human minds can be stored and restored electronically.
Automated spacecraft can navigate to distant livable planets, albeit with some terraforming.
Earth species can be biologically stored and revived in vitro.
Human minds, not just AI, can live and flourish in machine bodies.

Why introduce human bodies into such a clean premise until/unless needed to 'preserve the species'?
Biological body parts are not required until 'girl meets boy' romance necessary to every novel. Use anthropomorphic 'robot' explorers carrying human minds assisted by other machines. I would like to experience that world.
Hang on. Thats introducing a fourth magic technology: machine bodies.

So far, we're only positing digital storage of minds in memory banks, those recordings are inert until downloaded into squishy bodies and reactivated.

If one is positing that the minds are somehow operating while digital, then we are talking about a fifth magic technology: a virtual world for them to live in so they don't go insane in a vacuum of sensory input.
 
  • #25
Algr said:
Sorry, but that is not helpful.
Again not sure what you seek with this thread. You don't seem interested in going into a debate on points of critique so what would you find helpful?
 
  • #26
DaveC426913 said:
Crude or no, [[micro-biospheres and social psychology]] exist, and they don't require unknown science.
Where? Show me. I showed you links to actual cloning and writing to memory. You just said "It doesn't exist". That isn't refuting anything, it is just naysaying. Where is a biosphere that can support even a single human for a decade? Where is even a fictional description of social psychology that doesn't end in near disaster? Where is a practical Fusion Reactor? Those are the magic technologies that don't exist. A clone ship can work without them, A generation ship can not.

Of the three, the social psychology "technology" seems the most implausible to me. To understand why, you need to know a lot of History, so perhaps experts in Physics Forums are out of their field. Read up on the natives of Easter Island, and other tribes on remote islands. I'll read your reply, but I'm going to take a break from this for a while so that things can cool down. I suggest that you do to.
 
  • #27
DaveC426913 said:
Hang on. Thats introducing a fourth magic technology: machine bodies.

So far, we're only positing digital storage of minds in memory banks, those recordings are inert until downloaded into squishy bodies and reactivated.

If one is positing that the minds are somehow operating while digital, then we are talking about a fifth magic technology: a virtual world for them to live in so they don't go insane in a vacuum of sensory input.
Valid criticisms. I anticipated 'machine or computerized minds' from the ability to store memories electronically; that is, without requiring squishy body RNA, etc. OK next generation.

Actually, that helps supply necessary tension to the plot. Machine mind versus organic. Vat grown 'clones' versus womb grown children. Old Earth intelligences versus new world children. Story almost writes itself. :cool:
 
  • #28
Filip Larsen said:
Again not sure what you seek with this thread. You don't seem interested in going into a debate on points of critique so what would you find helpful?
I was hoping that someone might find logic errors or perhaps aspects of physics that I had overlooked.
 
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  • #29
Klystron said:
Valid criticisms. I anticipated 'machine or computerized minds' from the ability to store memories electronically; that is, without requiring squishy body RNA, etc. OK next generation.

Actually, that helps supply necessary tension to the plot. Machine mind versus organic. Vat grown 'clones' versus womb grown children. Old Earth intelligences versus new world children. Story almost writes itself. :cool:
There is an anime called "Expelled from Paradise" that deals with this. It supposes that once people are digitized like this they really would not want to become flesh-and-blood humans again. It's the AI that wants to launch a ship and colonize another world. I liked it. The superintelligent AI's didn't seem all that smart, but the reason for that would be obvious.

I've heard predictions of 2030-2040 for when actual computers might become smarter than humans and then end all arguments on the internet. Here is hoping.
 
  • #30
Algr said:
“Magic Technology?” Didn’t you read anything I wrote?
If you by this are referring to my use of "magic tech", then note I use it to describe technology that is described in a way that is sufficiently advanced to appear like magic. That is, its not magic magic (as in fantasy), but as reader you are simply not allowed to become "accustomed" enough with the tech to discern it from magic even after the story has been told.

Of course, if you believe you can provide your readers with enough details on your mind restoring tech that they end up finding it realistic or at least a "natural fit" in the story, then its no longer magic, but that may be hard to "pitch" in the limited word count on the back cover.
 
  • #31
Algr said:
...writing to memory.
Of human minds?

Algr said:
Where is a biosphere that can support even a single human for a decade?
Biospheres exist that support humans. Viable biospheres use nothing but known technology.
Yes, we haven't perfected them, but that's not due to a lack of any exotic physics.
I've said multiple times that current technologies will definitely need advancing and scaling up.

Algr said:
Where is even a fictional description of social psychology that doesn't end in near disaster?
That is a soft problem. Social psychology itself is not a technology that hasn't been invented yet.

Algr said:
Where is a practical Fusion Reactor? Those are the magic technologies that don't exist.
I did say "with the possible exception of a fusion drive".

Algr said:
A clone ship can work without them, A generation ship can not.
Except for one or two orders of magnitude in mass, clone ships have the same problems with interstellar-class propulsion.

Algr said:
Of the three, the social psychology "technology" seems the most implausible to me.
It's not implausible. We're not talking about how hard it is to do it right; we're talking about whether there is a path to it at all.
Social psychology, in and of itself is established even if it's got a long way to go.

Algr said:
I'm going to take a break from this for a while so that things can cool down. I suggest that you do to.
No, I'm good. I hope you are not reading any malice into my words.

I think clone ships a fascinating, worthy discussion about speculative science; I just think you're getting waylaid by trying to compare it to existing science. Let it stand on its own as a story idea and this whole sidebar goes away.
 

Related to Are Clone Ships a Better Alternative for Space Colonization?

What is a clone ship?

A clone ship is a hypothetical spacecraft that would carry genetically identical copies of a group of individuals on a long-term space journey. The purpose of a clone ship is to preserve the genetic diversity of a species while also ensuring the survival of the crew during the journey.

What is a generation ship?

A generation ship is a hypothetical spacecraft that would carry a group of people on a long-term space journey. Unlike a clone ship, the crew of a generation ship would consist of individuals from different genetic backgrounds, allowing for genetic diversity to be maintained over multiple generations.

What are the main differences between a clone ship and a generation ship?

The main difference between a clone ship and a generation ship is the composition of the crew. A clone ship would have a crew of genetically identical individuals, while a generation ship would have a diverse crew from different genetic backgrounds. Additionally, a clone ship would require advanced cloning technology, while a generation ship would rely on natural reproduction.

Which type of ship is more feasible for long-term space travel?

Both clone ships and generation ships have their own advantages and challenges. Clone ships would require advanced cloning technology and potential ethical concerns, while generation ships would need to address potential genetic diversity issues over multiple generations. Ultimately, the feasibility of either type of ship would depend on the specific circumstances and technology available.

What are some potential ethical considerations for clone ships and generation ships?

Both clone ships and generation ships raise ethical concerns, such as the potential for a lack of genetic diversity and the implications of creating genetically identical individuals for a clone ship, and the potential for genetic discrimination and power dynamics within the crew for a generation ship. These concerns would need to be carefully considered and addressed in any real-world application of either type of ship.

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