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On the feasibility of interstellar travels with slower-than-light, multi-generational worldships

Le 28 juin 2019
De 10h30 à 12h00

Frédéric Marin

Observatoire astronomique de Strasbourg


Worldships are hypothetical, large, self-contained spacecrafts for crewed interstellar travel, taking centuries to reach other worlds. Due to their crewed nature, size and long trip times, the feasibility of worldships faces an additional set of challenges compared to interstellar probes. Negative effects, such as infertility, overpopulation, gene mutation or inbreeding, can easily cause the crew to either be wiped out or genetically unhealthy upon arrival. It is thus of critical importance to consider the selection and survival of multi-generational crews in a confined space from state-of-the-art simulations. In this seminar, I will review the results of my agent-based numerical tool HERITAGE that explores the evolution of a kin-based crew over tens or hundreds of generations. I will present the principal social engineering principles brought by the simulations in terms of procreation rules, gene diversity, catastrophe resilience and minimum number of funding population. I will also discuss the architectural constraints linked with food consumption and production, and derive the population-dependent minimal size of worldships under the assumption of an Earth-like centripetal gravity.


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