Travel: Would it be immoral to send out a generation starship?

#1
https://aeon.co/ideas/would-it-be-immora...n-starship

EXCERPT: If human beings are ever to colonise other planets [...] they will almost certainly have to use generation ships: spaceships that will support not just those who set out on them, but also their descendants. The vast distances between Earth and the nearest habitable planets, combined with the fact that we are unlikely ever to invent a way of travelling that exceeds the speed of light, ensures that many generations will be born, raised and die on board such a ship before it arrives at its destination.

A generation ship would have to be a whole society in microcosm [...] A generation ship can work only if most of the children born aboard can be trained to become the next generation of crew. They will have little or no choice over what kind of project they pursue. [...] Children born on board generation ships might, in fact, be better off [...] than many born into poverty today. But they will still be locked into a project they did not choose. [...] The only way around these problems would be to design and build ships massive enough to house an entire complex society that presents a wide array of options and ensures a range of lifestyles can be pursued. The enormous costs of such a ship and the difficulty of propulsion for anything of that size suggest that it’s not a realistic option....
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#2
(Jun 16, 2016 07:09 AM)C C Wrote: https://aeon.co/ideas/would-it-be-immora...n-starship

EXCERPT: If human beings are ever to colonise other planets [...] they will almost certainly have to use generation ships: spaceships that will support not just those who set out on them, but also their descendants. The vast distances between Earth and the nearest habitable planets, combined with the fact that we are unlikely ever to invent a way of travelling that exceeds the speed of light, ensures that many generations will be born, raised and die on board such a ship before it arrives at its destination.

Greg Bear's recent science-fiction novel Hull Zero-Three has a very different take on the generation-starship theme.

He imagined the Earth facing certain annihilation from a coming nova or something. So a slow sublight starship is sent to the nearest star possessing a candidate exoplant potentially able to sustain life. (It's the future and they have a lot better information about that stuff than we do.) The ship is huge, since it has to carry everything the colonists will need, or at least the ability to manufacture it. The twist is that the starship carries no live humans, but rather AI's, clone vats and a genetic catalog containing the sequenced genetic codes of every species of life on Earth. The effectively immortal AI's steer the ship to the new planet, survey its conditions, then generate genetically-engineered organisms capable of surviving in those conditions.

The story involves what happens when the planet is found to already have its own intelligent life. (Inoffensive little things at roughly the equivalent of a neolithic cultural level.) The starship isn't likely to successfully make it to the plan-B planet, and it turns out that one of the AI's (the surrealistically fertile 'Mother' who designs, spawns and as it turns out, protects the new organisms) was secretly programmed to create genetically engineered super-predators to exterminate any existing sentient beings if they are found to be present. A battle ensures as newly cloned sorta-human colonists and the AI 'Captain' who steers the ship go to war to prevent the Mother from committing genocide against the planet's innocent inhabitants. The novel's protagonist wakes up in his clone tank in the aftermath of that, unaware that he even is a clone. (He thinks he was born on Earth and was in cryosleep.) But he was created for a purpose.
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#3
(Jul 5, 2016 08:01 PM)Yazata Wrote: Greg Bear's recent science-fiction novel Hull Zero-Three has a very different take on the generation-starship theme.

He imagined the Earth facing certain annihilation from a coming nova or something. So a slow sublight starship is sent to the nearest star possessing a candidate exoplant potentially able to sustain life. (It's the future and they have a lot better information about that stuff than we do.) The ship is huge, since it has to carry everything the colonists will need, or at least the ability to manufacture it. The twist is that the starship carries no live humans, but rather AI's, clone vats and a genetic catalog containing the sequenced genetic codes of every species of life on Earth. The effectively immortal AI's steer the ship to the new planet, survey its conditions, then generate genetically-engineered organisms capable of surviving in those conditions.

The story involves what happens when the planet is found to already have its own intelligent life. (Inoffensive little things at roughly the equivalent of a neolithic cultural level.) The starship isn't likely to successfully make it to the plan-B planet, and it turns out that one of the AI's (the surrealistically fertile 'Mother' who designs, spawns and as it turns out, protects the new organisms) was secretly programmed to create genetically engineered super-predators to exterminate any existing sentient beings if they are found to be present. A battle ensures as newly cloned sorta-human colonists and the AI 'Captain' who steers the ship go to war to prevent the Mother from committing genocide against the planet's innocent inhabitants. The novel's protagonist wakes up in his clone tank in the aftermath of that, unaware that he even is a clone. (He thinks he was born on Earth and was in cryosleep.) But he was created for a purpose.

I haven’t read it.  I usually stick to non-fiction.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  I have read the bible.  A nice little twist would have been to have the AI say, "It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make a help meet for him." Put him back into cryosleep, remove a ribosome, and create a woman.  Because there’s no way in hell that you guys could survive on your own.  Big Grin

What does DNA want?
It wants to remain stable and conserve itself.
“Resting DNA is so stable that it can protect its genes for 10,000 years or more.”

What do ribosomes want?
They want to replicate.

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