Seeding the Stars With Human Life
by David Sims
INTERSTELLAR colonization will proceed in two ways.
The fast wave of colonization (which, really, won’t be all that fast) will be carried out by seed ships. No living things will travel on those starships. Instead, the DNA sequences for several thousand eugenically superior Aryans will be encoded in computer files, which will be stored in multiply redundant copies. And likewise for whatever non-human organisms are deemed important for the humans to have.
The computers themselves will be multiply redundant, too.
The power source for the computers will be uranium-233, which has a half-life of 160,000 years. That’s long enough for a starship, moving at 0.001c (c = 300 km/sec) to travel out to 100 light years and still have enough fission fuel to carry out its functions upon arrival.
During the voyage, the computers will “wake up” once per century or so and scan each other for software errors, beginning with their operating systems, and moving on to their applications. The detection of errors will be done through a comparison test of the contents of each memory location in each computer.
At launch, the computers were identical in the content of their memories.
Deviations from the largest plurality among the computers will be deemed errors (caused by cosmic radiation) and adjusted to conform to the contents that most of the computers have.
When the computers have repaired each others’ software, they will turn to the data files containing the redundantly encoded DNA sequences, repairing them in the same way.
Thus the starships will arrive at other star systems with their software free of errors.
Once there, the earliest humans will be printed as embryos and artificially gestated. At “birth” they will be cared for by robots (probably disguised as Mommy and Daddy) and educated so that they can handle the task of bringing forth even more people from the database of Recorded Mankind.
It can’t be living people who travel on these slow starships, though. The thousands of years that each voyage will involve would impose an excessive additional cost in ship mass, and there is the virtual certainty that the humans would factionalize and engage in wars that could destroy the starship while it is en route.
The “slow” wave of interstellar colonization won’t involve any direct travel from star to star. Instead, the migrants will travel from rock to rock, in sort of a random walk that will — eventually — take them out to distances of many light years. Instead of going light years at a time, they’ll only go light hours or light days at a time. In this wave of expansion, humans will indeed travel in corpus. No seed ships or artificial womb technology will be needed.
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